Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Strip-Searched in Error, Burlco Man Goes to High Court for Justice

A Burlco man who was strip-searched twice - in error - will attend a Supreme Court hearing this week to get justice. He says it will be "surreal" to hear his name spoken in "the highest court in the land." It's been 3 decades since the court has taken up the issue.

Strip-Searched in Error, Burlco Man Goes to High Court for Justice

Albert Florence , with attorney Susan Chana Lask, described the strip searches he endured.
Albert Florence , with attorney Susan Chana Lask, described the strip searches he endured. JOELLE FARRELL / Staff Photo

A Burlco man who was strip-searched twice in error will attend a Supreme Court hearing this week to get justice.  Albert Florence, a father of four who lives in Bordentown, says it will be "surreal" to hear his name spoken in "the highest court in the land." 

It's been 3 decades since the high court has taken up the issue. 

Florence, 35, was arrested 6 years ago by NJ state trooper when he was a passenger in an SUV driven by his pregnant wife.  The trooper said she was speeding, but never gave her a ticket.  Instead, he handcuffed Florence and took him to the Burlco Jail, saying he was wanted on a warrant for a traffic ticket.

Florence said he had already paid the fine on that ticket, and later produced his proof, but was ignored.  He was ordered to "squat, manipulate his genitals, and cough" for corrections officials. 

In a video just released by the American Constitution Society and National Constitution Center, Florence spoke from the heart about his case, Florence v. Burlington.  Listen to it here.  http://www.vimeo.com/30161234

"I’m excited, I'm thrilled to go before the 9 justices, and just even having them say my name, it’s surreal," he says.  "The Constitutional speaks for itself.  And ahh, we'll see." 

The case will be argued in D.C. on Wednesday.  Florence's lawyer, Susan Chana Lask, said she will attend with Florence and his wife, April.  

"I promised him 6 years ago I'd take it to the Supreme Court if I had to," she said, explaining she is doing this pro bono.  "Hopefully the court will think that this could happen to their daughters, or their mothers.... if a tail light is out," Lask said.  "This happened to someone who didn't commit a crime." 

Jan Hefler
About this blog

Written by Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler, the Burlco Buzz blog covers breaking news in the the county, as well as its quirky characters, crime cases, politics, outdoor recreation and environment. Contact Jan at jhefler@phillynews.com.

Jan Hefler
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