S.D.N.Y.: A prison cell search doesn’t need justification

“‘[P]rison officials are presumed to do their best to evaluate and monitor objectively the security needs of the institution and the inmates in their custody, and then to determine whether and when such concerns necessitate a search of a prison cell.’ United States v. Cohen, 796 F.2d 20, 23 (2d Cir. 1986) (emphasis omitted). Thus, when a prison official initiates the search of a pretrial detainee’s cell, the search is not ‘subject to constitutional challenge, regardless of whether security needs could justify it.’ Id. at 24.” Ross v. Aramark Corp., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40715 (S.D. N.Y. Mar. 13, 2019).*

“Here, the officers knew Otero had a gun, and knew he was dissembling about having a gun. The officers were justified in briefly handcuffing the defendant and securing the firearm while he was questioned. The contraband status of the firearm with its obliterated serial number was immediately apparent when it was secured.” United States v. Otero, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42521 (D. N.M. Mar. 15, 2019).*

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