Can a male officer search a minor/adult female without ab other officer being present?

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Can a male officer search a minor/adult female without ab other officer being present?

My house was issued a search warrant and the male officer searched my 12 year-old daughter and myself (I’m a female). Everyone was placed in handcuffs. A female officer arrived later and searched us both again. I was taken to the PD for questioning, still cuffed. When the officer got me inside the PD the officer searched me again, prior to placing me in a holding cell, there was not any other officers, staff, or anyone else present (prior to leaving the scene he declined to have the female officer search me again). I felt extremely violated as did my daughter. Is this legal?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is always preferred that a subject of a pat down be checked by an officer of the same sex, however, sometimes out in the field this just isn't practical.  If the safety of the officers is potentially at issue, and if no female officer is available, it is perfectly legal for a male officer to perform a pat down search of female (adult or minor).

However, what is troubling about all of this is that there appears to have been several pat downs and for at least 1 of them a female officer was available.  Frankly, based on the facts presented, there really doesn't appear to have been valid reasons for doing this.  If you feel that your rights were violated, you should consult with an attorney to discuss this matter in greater detail.    


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