Body Searches

Judgement on Abortion


Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court redefined what constitutes a "search" or "seizure" with regard to the protections of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ruling expanded the Fourth Amendment's protections from an individual's "persons, houses, papers, and effects", as specified in the Constitution's text, to include any areas where a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy". The reasonable expectation of privacy standard, known as the Katz test, was formulated in a concurring opinion by Justice John Marshall Harlan II. The Katz test has since been used in numerous cases, particularly because of technological advances that create new questions about privacy norms and government surveillance of personal data.

The Supreme Court noted that § 46-5-105, MCA, was a spurred by the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Florence v. Bd. Of Chosen Freeholders of Cty. of Burlington, 566 U.S. 318 (2012), that misdemeanour arrestees could not be strip searched without reasonable suspicion if they are not placed in the jail’s general population.


Mistry v Interim Medical and Dental Council of South Africa , the Constitutional Court held that the right to privacy provides safeguards to regulate the search and seizure of the private sector by state officials, which clearly distinguishes a constitutional democracy from a police state. The right to privacy is a core fundamental human right universally and has received renewed attention mainly due the concerns about the social media and the protection of data as well as the right to freedom of speech.


Thompson v Minogue, In 2020, Dr Craig Minogue successfully challenged a prison order that he submit to a urine test and routine strip search before that test. In the Supreme Court, Minogue successfully argued this direction was in breach of his rights to privacy and dignity in detention. The state of Victoria appealed. The Victorian Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling that routine strip searches prior to urine testing breached Minogue’s human rights and the government did not properly consider human rights when making strip-searching policies. The Court found these routine strip searches were “extremely invasive and demeaning” procedures against the privacy and dignity rights.


China's Constitution provides that it is prohibited to illegally search a citizen's body, and to illegally search or intrude into citizens' houses. The Law of Criminal Procedure provides that in order to search for criminal evidence and seize criminals, public security organs can search the body, articles, residence and other places concerned of the accused as well as those who may hide criminals or criminal evidence, but should do it strictly according to legal procedure. Pro-curatorial organs should strictly supervise law enforcement in the investigating activities of public security organs.

As a matter of principle and discipline for China's public security and judicial organs in handling cases, it is strictly prohibited to extort confessions by torture. Whenever a case of violating this principle and discipline occurs, it should be dealt with according to law. In 1990, China's pro-curatorial organs filed for investigation 472 cases which involved extorting confessions by torture. This has not only protected citizens' personal rights effectively, but also taught law enforcement officials a lesson.

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