I don’t know what charges Charles E. Byrd faced, but whatever they were were enough to put him behind bars as a pre-trial detainee in the Maricopa County jail (a facility that has spawned more than its share of threads here).
While he was housed there, jail officials decided to do a thorough search of the housing bloc Byrd was in, apparently in response to several earlier inmate fights and some suspicion of the presence of contraband. Inmates were searched by cadets from the detention officer training academy, with supervisors from the jail present.
Byrd’s assigned cadet was female, one Kathleen O’Connell. According to testimony, her search included the following technique:
According to jail policy, male inmates may generally be frisk searched by either male or female officers, but female inmates will only be searched by female officers.
Byrd complains of this policy, and of the search generally. His complaint took the form of a lawsuit against the cadet, the supervisor, and the sheriff. The appeals court panel that just considered the issue found that because the search was intrusive and conducted by a female on a male, it was unreasonable.
I’m curious if readers believe this is the proper result. And assuming that it is, what implications it has for the employment rights of female guards. The jail population is overwhelmingly male; if female guards cannot perform this function, there are not going to be many spots for female guards to work.