Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Smook v. Minnehaha County, South Dakota

This case challenged a juvenile detention center’s policy to strip search all youth entering the facility, even without probable cause or individualized suspicion that the child had contraband, under the Fourth Amendment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the policy did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Juvenile Law Center initially filed an amicus brief in support of Smook’s petition seeking reconsideration by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and then filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States supporting Smook’s petition for a writ of certiorari. 

Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that the Eighth Circuit’s decision to uphold the policy sets a disturbing precedent that provides youth with less protection from harm than adults would receive under the Fourth Amendment in virtually every Circuit.  The brief also highlighted widely accepted psychological research that such searches can inflict serious trauma on youth.  Finally, the brief argued that the strip search policy violated international law regarding the rights of children to dignity and humanity.

The Supreme Court of the United States denied the petition for writ of certiorari. 


457 F.3d 806
Case Number
Amicus Curiae
August 31, 2006
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
State of Origin
South Dakota

Support Juvenile Law Center

One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support