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Indiana Jail Settles Strip Search Case for $300,000

Indiana Jail Settles Strip Search Case For $300,000

On June 6, 2000 Harrison County, Indiana, Jail officials agreed to settle a class action lawsuit involving nearly 200 people who sued in an Indiana federal district court after they were illegally strip searched by jail officials. The settlement totaled $300,000, including attorney fees and costs.

Bart Betteau, an attorney from New Albany, Indiana, filed the suit on behalf of the former detainees. Their complaint was that they were strip searched even though they were jailed for minor, nonviolent offenses, and there was no reason to suspect that they were carrying dangerous or illegal contraband. The class plaintiffs were persons detained by the jail between January 1997 and January 1999.

The jail's policy was to strip search everyone jailed there. Jail officials claim that they first learned about court rulings holding such blanket strip searches improper soon after this lawsuit was filed. They claim that they then changed the jail's strip search policy.

Mr. Betteau commented that "the county's insurance company, not the county, will pay the settlements."

The nearly 200 plaintiffs and Mr. Betteau will share the $300,000 settlement. The plaintiffs will receive amounts ranging from $80 to $2,000 each. See: Valerie L. Noon, et al v. Sheriff Clyde R. Sailor, et al, USDC SDIN Case No. NA 9956C.

Source: Associated Press

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Related legal case

Valerie L Noon, et al v. Sheriff Clyde R Sailor