Wednesday, July 17, 2002
County to Pay $150,000 to Settle Suit Over Strip Search of Pregnant Woman
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The county will pay $150,000 to a pregnant woman who claims she twice went into premature labor due to the stress of an unlawful strip search she was subjected to after being arrested by sheriff’s deputies for failing to appear in court for a traffic citation, under a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors yesterday.
Brandi Michelle Beaudoin was arrested in December 2000 on the misdemeanor warrant and taken to the Lomita Sheriff’s Station. During the booking process, she told the jailer she was six months pregnant, and she subsequently transferred to Twin Towers jail, which is better suited for pregnant inmates, according to county documents.
When she arrived at Twin Towers Beaudoin claims she was mixed with felons and subjected to a strip search, even though it is against the law to search someone arrested for a misdemeanor that does not involve a weapon or a gun unless there is a reasonable suspicion the person has a weapon or drugs.
Despite posting bail at 10 p.m. the same day she was arrested, she was not released until 5:30 a.m. the next day, according to county documents.
Within one week of being released from custody, Beaudoin claims she went into premature labor two separate times and had to be taken to the hospital, where she was injected with drugs to successfully stop the labor.
While the Sheriff’s Department could not verify whether a strip search actually occurred, Assistant County Counsel Kevin Brazile argued that a jury could conclude just that and the county would be liable for attorney’s fees in addition to the judgment. A jury could also find that the eight hour period that elapsed from the time her bail was posted until the time she was released the following day was unreasonable, he wrote.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company