If we want to be perfectly safe, we could just kill everybody. Then there would be zero crime.
By Pete Williams, NBC News chief justice correspondent April 2, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.
By a 5-4 vote, the court rejected a challenge from a New Jersey man who argued it's unconstitutional to force everyone to strip down for inspection. Albert Florence was arrested by a state trooper because of an error in the state's records that mistakenly said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.
Florence was held for a week in two different jails before the charges were dropped. But at each jail, he was required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search.
The court also noted that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was initially arrested for not having a license plate on his car and that one of the 9/11 terrorists was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93. "People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals," the court said.