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DOE v. CALUMET CITY

December 12, 1990

JANE DOE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CALUMET CITY, ILLINOIS, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

 MILTON I. SHADUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff class, comprising all women who have been arrested on a misdemeanor or ordinance violation in Calumet City, Illinois on or after April 16, 1982, *fn1" has sued Calumet City *fn2" under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 ("Section 1983") for alleged unconstitutional strip searches conducted by the Calumet City Police Department. Plaintiffs now move under Rule 56 *fn3" for summary judgment on the issue of liability. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is granted.

 Facts

 Between April 16, 1982 and the April 17, 1987 commencement of this suit, members of the Calumet City Police Department conducted a large number of strip searches of women who had been arrested for non-felony offenses. *fn4" All those searches were conducted without any particularized belief that any of the arrestees possessed either a weapon or contraband. While Calumet City had no formal policy regarding strip searches, its police force routinely conducted such searches without any specific justification.

 Calumet City's practice of conducting strip searches was in effect and continued well after its neighboring city, Chicago, had been found liable for its own similar practice. *fn5" Indeed, effective September 21, 1979 the Illinois General Assembly responded to the disclosure of the Chicago Police Department's strip search policy by amending the Illinois statute governing "Rights on Arrest" to read (Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 38, para. 103-1(c)):

 
No person arrested for a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense, except in cases involving weapons or a controlled substance, shall be strip searched unless there is reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon or controlled substance. *fn6"

 And that legislation was specifically referred to in the appeal growing out of the Chicago situation, Mary Beth G. v. City of Chicago, 723 F.2d 1263, 1266 n. 1 (7th Cir. 1983) (more of that case later). Despite the State's recognition of its municipalities' unlawful methods of searching arrestees (and despite our Court of Appeals' decision in Mary Beth G.), Calumet City changed its strip search practice only after this lawsuit was filed.

 Doe's case was one of many. Indeed, the offered testimony by the 117 women arrestees describing 146 strip searches includes the following typical examples:

 
1. On November 2, 1982 class member 6628 *fn7" was arrested by a Calumet City police officer on a warrant for misdemeanor offenses relating to bad checks. At the police station she was required to remove her clothes.
 
2. On August 28, 1983 class member 6453 was arrested by a Calumet City police officer for "investigation" and eventually released without being charged. At the station she was required to remove her shirt, lift her brassiere over her breasts, lower her pants and underpants and squat.
 
3. On February 19, 1984 class member 6422 was arrested on a warrant. At the station she was required to remove her clothes, to squat three times and to spread the lips of her vagina.
 
4. On June 30, 1985 class member 5227 was arrested for deceptive practices. At the station, after she had removed her clothes a dispatcher lifted the arrestee's breasts.
 
5. On March 13, 1986 class member 6070 was arrested for being a minor in a tavern. At the station she was required to remove all her clothing.
 
6. On February 21, 1987 class member 6528 was arrested for driving with a suspended license. At the station she was required to remove her shirt and lower her pants and underpants.

 In addition to being required to expose themselves, many women arrestees in Calumet City were subjected to offensive touching. Again the following examples will suffice:

 
1. On December 5, 1982 class member 6458 (17 years old) was arrested on a misdemeanor and required to remove all her clothing. Then a female member of the department lifted the arrestee's breasts and ran her fingers along the class member's genitals.
 
2. On April 13, 1983 class member 5075 was arrested on a misdemeanor, required to remove all her clothing and searched by a woman who, clad in rubber gloves, felt around the class member's vagina and anus.
 
3. On February 12, 1986 class member 6771, arrested on a misdemeanor, was required to remove all her clothing and instructed to squat and then to bend over. While bent over, the class member felt the female searcher insert her gloved fingers into the class member's vagina and anus.
 
4. On June 13, 1986 class member 5737, arrested on a misdemeanor, was required to remove her clothing and was subjected to a digital cavity search by a female member of the Calumet City Police Department.

 At least two arrestees (class members 5206 and 6651) were required to sit on a toilet and spread their legs, and at least one (class member 5254) was searched in that fashion in the presence of a male officer. At least 27 women arrestees were searched by male officers, including the following examples:

 
1. On May 18, 1983 class member 6632's breasts were fondled by a male officer.
 
2. On June 27, 1983 a male officer conducted a digital cavity search of class member 5319.
 
3. On April 18, 1984, after a female searcher had class member 6470 remove her clothing and after the class member refused to squat, two male officers entered the room and ordered the class member to squat.
 
4. On August 30, 1984 a male officer strip searched class member 6697 and ordered her to squat.
 
5. On September 2, 1984 a male officer, clad in rubber gloves, ran his fingers along the genitals of class member 6789 and conducted a digital cavity search.
 
6. On September 4, 1984 a male officer fondled the breasts of class member 6789 and ran his fingers along her genitals.
 
7. On January 13, 1985 a male officer strip searched class member 5831.
 
8. On May 3, 1985 a male officer lifted the breasts of class member 5279 and felt around her anus.
 
9. On March 19, 1986 a male officer strip searched class member 5305.
 
10. On December 21, 1986 class member 5446, arrested for being a minor in a tavern, was searched by a male officer who required her ...

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