In Harris County Texas, sheriff’s deputies searched a woman’s vagina recently. Radley Balko reported the story in the Washington Post. The deputies searched Charnesia Corley’s car for almost an hour then brought a female officer to the scene for a body cavity search. Ms. Corley refused. More backup officers were requested. Backup arrived and they grabbed her legs and spread them apart so the female officer could search her vagina.. No search warrant was obtained nor is it required under Texas law. Ms. Corley did not consent to the search. When I read Mr. Balko’s post I was horrified. I am just glad that could not happen in Tennessee.
In order to conduct a body cavity search in Tennessee, one of two things must happen under Tennessee Code Annotated 40-7-121. First , police must apply for a search warrant to be able to conduct a body cavity search or a person can give consent to a body cavity search. One interesting aspect of T.C.A. 40-7-121 is that the consent must be in writing and contain certain language advising the person of their rights. Under Tennessee, consent to search usually does not have to be in writing.
Incredibly, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s office stated the officers conduct was appropriate. according to the statement police could strip search a suspect if they wanted. It seems to be a sad state of affairs in the Lone Star State. Thanks to Deandre Grant for alerting me to the story.