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ROSCOM v. CITY OF CHICAGO

September 12, 1983

EVANGELINE ROSCOM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Evangeline Roscom ("Roscom") originally sued the City of Chicago ("City"), Cook County ("County") and certain City and County officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") charging violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.*fn1 This action remains pending against the County defendants.*fn2 Roscom seeks compensatory damages of $100,000, and she also asks punitive damages against the individual defendants.*fn3

This action has been tried on the facts (to which the parties have stipulated) without a jury. In accordance with Rule 52(a) this Court finds the facts specially and states its conclusions of law thereon in the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Findings of Fact ("Findings")

1. Roscom was arrested April 5, 1980 by City police officers pursuant to a legal arrest warrant charging deceptive practice (Stip. ¶ 6). Roscom was then taken to the City facility at 1121 South State Street and questioned as to checks Roscom had written that had not been honored by her bank (Stip. ¶ 7).

2. Roscom was fingerprinted and detained at the City facility for several hours. She then experienced severe chest pains and was taken to the Mercy Hospital emergency room for examination (Stip. ¶ 8). After the examination she was returned to the City facility (Stip. ¶ 9).

3. On April 6 Roscom (still at 1121 South State Street) was placed in the custody of the County Sheriff (the "Sheriff") and taken before a judge for the setting of bail (Stip. ¶ 10). When Roscom was unable to post bail, the Sheriff transferred her to the County jail facility at 26th and California, Chicago, Illinois (the "County Jail") (Stip. ¶ 11). Upon Roscom's arrival at the County Jail, pictures were taken, some paperwork was completed and she was then placed in a County Jail cell (Stip. ¶ 12).

4. After several hours Roscom was taken from the County Jail cell to a room with other females, all of whom were ordered to line up in single file and take off their clothes for a search (Stip. ¶ 13). Roscom removed her clothes and proceeded to where the matron was. After a frontal visual search by the matron Roscom was instructed to turn around, spread her legs and bend over for a visual genital area search (Stip. ¶ 14). Only women were in the room when the searches took place (Stip. ¶ 17). At no time during either search did anyone touch Roscom (Stip. ¶ 16). After the search was completed Roscom picked up her clothes, took a shower and was taken back to a County Jail cell (Stip. ¶ 15).

5. County's Department of Corrections General Order 78-23 governs body searches (Stip. ¶ 18 and Ex. 1):

    B. An inmate is subject to a search of his or
  her person, either clothed or unclothed, when
  there is reasonable cause to believe the inmate
  may have contraband concealed on his or her
  person. Such searches or inspections may also be
  a routine requirement for inmate movement into or
  out of certain high security risk areas.
      1. An unclothed body search includes visual
    inspection of all body areas, including the
    anal and genital areas; therefore, correctional
    personnel will not conduct unclothed body
    inspection of an inmate of the opposite sex.
    This does not preclude routine search of
    clothing worn by an inmate without regard to
    the sex of the inmate or of personnel making
    such inspections.
      2. Rectal and vaginal searches or inspections
    of an inmate may not be made by anyone other
    than qualified medical personnel.

6. In support of the claimed reasonableness of the search in this cue, the County defendants have stated the procedure for processing pretrial detainees such as Roscom:

    (a) All such detainees are transported to the
  County Jail without segregation as to ...

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