Woman Charged for Involuntary Body Cavity Search

Woman Charged for Involuntary Body Cavity Search September 13, 2011

This is one of the sickest things I’ve read in a long time.

A woman in the state of New Mexico is asking cops to cover her medical bill after she was ordered by the Metro Narcotics Agency of Las Cruces, NM to undergo a costly cavity search — at her own expense.

The woman, whose name is being withheld, was apprehended by authorities earlier this summer. Acting on “credible information from a reliable source,” Metro Sgt. Mike Alba obtained a search warrant from Magistrate Court to send the woman into Memorial Medical Center to undergo a forcible and thorough body cavity search.

Not only did the probe come up fruitless, however, but the woman was footed with a medical bill for $1,122 for something she never wanted or asked for. Attorney Michael Lilley is representing the woman and served the county a claim last week that they will be held responsible for the hospital fees, which he is calling “unlawful.”

It gets worse in the details:

While Sgt. Alba says his source believed the woman was concealing up to an ounce of heroin on her person, the authorities had no other evidence against the woman other than hearsay and she had no criminal record. Doctors did not recover any drugs in the search and the woman was not formally arrested or charged with any crime. Even still, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the woman was held in custody for several hours.

Cases like this one in New Mexico are not isolated incidents. A Cleveland, Ohio woman served 16 months in prison before being released in 2008 when defense attorneys discovered that the police informant that exposed her as a drug courier had fabricated the story to prosecutors. In that case, Geneva France was one of 26 people that were charged with crimes stemming from allegations handed by Jerrell Bray, a Drug Enforcement Administration informant. Bray shot a man after a drug deal gone bad a year later and admitted that he had made up the story that put France behind bars. By that point, however, 21 people were already convicted on charges stemming from allegations from Bray.

The use of police informants is one of the most vile elements of our criminal injustice system. This woman was essentially raped by the government. And then she’s asked to pay for it too. Utterly repulsive.

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