A Harris County, Texas woman is the latest in a long line of female victims of the state’s completely insane prosecution of the war on drugs after deputies forcibly penetrated her during a routine traffic stop earlier this summer.
21 year-old Charnesia Corley said she was driving in northern Harris County around 10:30 p.m. on June 21 when a male deputy pulled her over for allegedly running a stop sign. After telling her he smelled marijuana, the deputy handcuffed Ms. Corley, locked her in his patrol vehicle and spent the next hour searching her car for the marijuana he claimed to have smelled. According to her attorney Sam Cammack the deputy found nothing, and that’s when he turned his attention to the woman he had locked in his car.
After returning to his patrol vehicle the deputy told Corley he still smelled marijuana, so he requested a female deputy respond to the scene for a more thorough search.
According to Corley, after the female deputy arrived she was removed from the back of the patrol vehicle and ordered to pull her pants down. Corley protested the order, saying that her hands were handcuffed behind her back and she was not wearing any underwear. After refusing to participate in the search Corley said she was thrown to the ground and held there while waiting for another female deputy to arrive. When the second backup officer arrived Corley says her pants were removed and her legs were forcibly spread apart so that her vagina could be searched for marijuana. Though the initial report didn’t mention where it was found, deputies allegedly found less than a half-gram of marijuana during the search.
Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas, told the Houston Chronicle that the cavity search without a warrant was a “blatant” violation of the Fourth Amendment, and that an orifice probe was the most invasive search possible. “A body cavity search without a warrant would be constitutionally suspect,” she said. “But a body cavity search by the side of the road… I can’t imagine a circumstance where that would be constitutional.”
Not a new practice
Unfortunately roadside body cavity searches are nothing new in Texas (and across the southwest), as legislation was recently signed by the Texas governor that would outlaw the practice under most circumstances. Unfortunately for Ms. Corley it’s too little too late, though, as the law does not go into effect until September. Here are some other notable cases of blatant roadside constitutional violations over the last couple of years:
- 2013- Texas DPS forced to pay $185,000 to two Irving women who were subjected to roadside body cavity searches for marijuana while being illuminated by patrol car headlights and in full view of passing traffic. The trooper also digitally probed both women without changing gloves.
- 2014- Harris County woman sues the DPS over what she claims was an unwarranted cavity search roadside, where she said male officers stood around and watched. Like the incident above this search also involved two occupants and the DPS officer who conducted the searches did not change gloves either.
- 2014- New Mexico woman awarded $1.1 million in a lawsuit against Border Patrol officers and an El Paso hospital where she was subjected to multiple body cavity searches over the course of 6 hours for narcotics that she didn’t have.