Rod Boshart
Published: January 29 2014 | 1:06 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:50 am in

Iowans arrested for scheduled violations, like traffic offenses, or simple misdemeanor crimes could be subject to strip searches by authorities if they are going to be admitted to a county jail or municipal holding facility under a bill that cleared an initial look in a House subcommittee Wednesday. Backers of House Study Bill 510 said it is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision and would seek to enhance safety by preventing weapons, drugs or other contraband from making their way into a jailís general population. The search could only be conducted if authorities had probable cause to believe the person being arrested was in possession of contraband, which would include a cell phone. Lobbyists representing justice reform and civil libertarian groups expressed concerns about the change, which initially proposed to lower the legal standard for conducting a search from probable cause to reasonable suspicion to believe someone was may be carrying a concealed weapon or contraband. Rep. Stan Gustafson, R-Indianola, chairman of a House subcommittee that forwarded the measure to the House Judiciary Committee by a 3-0 margin, said he thought keeping the probable cause standard balanced the need to protect jail personnel with constitutional protections for those arrested for minor offenses who are going to be placed in a jail or holding facility.


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