04/08/2005

Drug Conviction Thrown Out in Indianapolis Because Strip Search Filmed

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An appeals court threw out a man's cocaine conviction because his strip search was filmed by a camera crew for a television program.

The Indiana Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued Thursday that filming Andra Thompson's strip-search was "unprofessional and unreasonable."

During a 2003 sting operation at a motel, officers strip searched Thompson and found cocaine stuffed between his buttocks. Thompson, 26, of Indianapolis, was convicted of cocaine possession and sentenced to six years in prison in 2004.

Police had given permission for the search to be filmed for an show on cable TV's Oxygen network called "Women and the Badge." One of the arresting officers was a woman.

At one point, the camera focused for several seconds on Thompson's naked posterior while he was bent over in handcuffs.

"Where should the media line be drawn?" Judge Edward Najam wrote. "We will not sanction such conduct, which demeans the suspect and degrades the entire legal process."

Oxygen network officials did not immediately return a message Friday seeking comment.

Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul Ciesielski said the agency would not comment on the ruling until it was examined by their legal department.

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