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Laughter v. Kay (1998)

10 July 1998 Published in Resolved Cases

Police Practices, Prison/Jails - Stana Laughter and her 3-year-old son went to visit her husband at the Central Utah Correctional Facility. Her car was searched at the front gate and an officer searched Laughter’s purse and other belongings. Laughter then parked her car and walked to the building for her standard visitation. Then another officer told her he had a search warrant authorizing a full body search of her and her son. Her car and personal belongings were again searched with the aid of a dog, and Laughter was then accompanied to a hospital where an ER doctor conducted an intrusive body cavity search.

Laughter was six months pregnant. Her son was also stripped and searched. Nothing illegal was found on either person. After the searches, Laughter was told that her visitation privileges were terminated. All of the searches were conducted under the auspices of a severely defective search warrant and with no probable cause. The ACLU of Utah filed a complaint on July 2, 1996. The case was settled in 1998 on terms that were favorable to Laughter.