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Public Strip Search Nets Oregon Prisoner $9,601

An Oregon prisoner was awarded damages of $3,000, attorney's fees totaling $5,640 and $961 in costs, for a public strip search.

Cody L. Martin was a minimum security prisoner of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC). On April 14, 2008, Martin was working on an outside work crew under the supervision of ODOC guard Joe Davidson.

The crew was performing work on Mission Street, near Bush Park in Salem, Oregon, according to court filings. At some point during the assignment, Davidson decided to strip search Martin and ordered him to enter a portable toilet located in the parking lot adjacent to Mission Street; a busy Salem thoroughfare.

Once inside, Davidson ordered Martin to completely disrobe, the Complaint alleges. Davidson "then conducted a strip search of Plaintiff with the toilet door open thereby exposing Plaintiff's nude body to the public." The search took four and five humiliating, shocking and embarrassing minutes, according to the suit.

Martin sued the State, ODOC and Davidson, in state court, alleging that Defendants committed several state torts and constitutional violations in subjecting him to the public strip search.

Martin alleged that the search violated ODOC rules, subjected him to "unnecessary rigor," in violation of Article I, section 13, of the Oregon Constitution and subjected him "to extreme humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, and other highly unpleasant mental or emotional reactions lasting over a prolonged period of time."

Martin sought a declaration that Defendants violated his rights and compensatory and non-economic damages totaling $250,000 against each Defendant. He also sought past economic damages of $46.25, damages for future counseling and treatment costs, "not to exceed $1,000," and an award of costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

On December 29, 2010, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Dale Penn awarded Martin $3,000, pursuant to Oregon Rule of Civil Procedure (ORCP) 54E, attorney's fees of $5,640.00 and costs of $961.00.

Martin was represented by Salem attorney Rick J. Glantz, of Vick & Glantz, LLP. See: Martin v. Oregon, Marion County Circuit Court (OR), Case No. 10C-13573.

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Related legal case

Martin v. Oregon