Texas: Forced Vagina Searches Now Require Warrants

By David Jenison

Texas: Forced Vagina Searches Now Require Warrants

A person must possess at least a quarter pound of cannabis for it to be a felony in Texas, which means women hiding the plant in their vaginas typically risk only misdemeanor charges. Regardless, this did not stop Texas law enforcement from force-searching vaginas for years without obtaining warrants. The problem was significant enough to prompt legislation. Last May, the Texas Legislature passed a new law that said police officers can no longer conduct vaginal and anal cavity searches during traffic stops without first obtaining a body-cavity search warrant.

Fortunately for Texas women, the new no-warrantless-vagina-search law takes effect today.

Sadly, the law came too late for 21-year-old Charnesia Corley. In June, an officer who smelled cannabis in the young lady’s car had a female officer conduct just such a search on the pavement of a Texaco parking lot near Houston. According to her attorney, a still-cuffed Corley did not consent to a vagina search, but the officers did it anyways pinning her to the ground, physically pulling her legs apart and penetrating her vagina. While it is uncertain where they found the cannabis, the police booked her on misdemeanor charges for having .02 ounces, i.e., 1/200th of the amount necessary for a felony.

In 2013, the New York Daily News reported on several similar cases in the Lone Star State with the staggering subhead, “Multiple highway patrol officers in Texas have been captured by dash cams doing 'unconstitutional' cavity searches on women's genitals during traffic stops.” In some cases, both vaginal and anal searches were conducted.

These women are not suspected terrorists locked up in Guantanamo Bay. They are women pulled over during traffic stops who smell or look like cannabis users. These genitalia searches will likely net a misdemeanor at best, yet one suspects the police officers might plant cannabis if they come up empty-handed to minimize potential lawsuit risks.

The new law will not eliminate cannabis-related vaginal searches on gas station concrete, but it will hopefully limit abuse and provide a better record of how many Texan vaginas suffer from the war on cannabis.

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