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Story - News

Oct 9, 2008 1:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Appeals court favors woman suing Southampton Village Police

Oct 9, 2008 1:14 PM

Ms. Hartline also said there was a video camera in the jail cell. When she was waiting for the police to give her an appearance ticket before she left, she noticed a camera monitor that appeared to show the jail cell she was just in, she said. She added that she asked Officer Gallo, and he confirmed that it was her cell.

The Village Police account on whether the jail cell was broadcast on a camera monitor during the strip-search has differed from what Ms. Hartline says.

“There absolutely was a camera in the cell, and there was a red light on,” Ms. Hartline maintained.

Because the district court had favored the defendants, the appeals court said it considered the evidence “in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor.” Based on that assessment, the judges wrote, “we conclude without hesitation that Hartline’s rights were violated.”

Ms. Hartline also alleges that the police had a policy of strip-searching all female arrestees, regardless of crime, and not all male arrestees. The appeals judges said Ms. Hartline did not assert in her case that her Equal Protection Clause rights were violated, and she should considering amending her case before presenting it to the district court again.

Ms. Hartline’s attorney, William E. Betz of Great Neck, said in an October 9 e-mail that he and his client would follow the judges’ suggestion.

Smithtown attorney Diane Farrell, who is representing the village and the police department, said on October 9 that it is unclear if the village will look to settle the case now that it is likely headed to trial.

Officer Gallo has been suspended from the police department since February of this year on undisclosed departmental charges, some of which relate to an incident while he was off duty. Officer Gallo allegedly broke into an up-island business where he had installed a security system that wasn’t paid for and took it back.

Mr. Sherry and Ms. Donovan have both retired since the incident, though Ms. Donovan was rehired as a seasonal police officer.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By John Q (2), Smalltown on Oct 10, 08 11:48 AM
No reasonable suspicion that she had drugs? She was found with the stem, seeds, butt, and pipe! The only thing missing was the rolling papers!!!

She committed a crime, and she should have to strip down and bend over just like every other criminal who gets caught.
By John Q (2), Smalltown on Oct 10, 08 11:52 AM
John Q. - Making sure you saw the part where it suggests only females are strip searched? Or the part where the strips search was allegedly broadcasted throughout the police station? It's fascinating that since 2003 not one single person has made additional claims of unconstitutional strip searches. Part of the problem here is that there doesn't appear to be any other “criminals” who got “stripped down and bent over”. So if this was your daughter, wife, girlfriend or mother who apparently got ...more
By NorthSea (10), Southampton on Oct 10, 08 1:26 PM
John,
The marijuana was missing too. I think the rolling papers would’ve been useless.
By NorthSea (10), Southampton on Oct 10, 08 1:28 PM
John Q,
Did you used to work for the Village Police?? You think just like Gallo and the rest of them. Strip searches are not done for an, at best, violation for a wooden stem and residue. The Village cannot even produce a female prisioner who has been stripped searched for UPM. That's because it was selective enforcement and a violation of that young lady's rights. They should pay through the nose so no one else has to go through that ordeal.
...more
By warren (3), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 10, 08 2:25 PM
Conducting strip searches for marihuana possession is both an outdated practice and a clear sign of misconduct and incompetence on the part of the people doing the strip searches. That would be recently rehired Southampton Village Seasonal Police Officer Marla Donovan. This story has this minor inaccuracy.

In New York State the Criminal Procedure Law governs how the police should act in these circumstances; section 150.75 to be specific. Ms. Hartline’s CAR and not Ms. Hartline was in ...more
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 11, 08 3:24 PM
I have a similar story that happened to me with the Southampton police. I was stopped for quote unquote "swerving" on the road. What REALLY happened was that it was dark and I couldn't see my turn. I was pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving. They made me strip down too in front of a female officer. There was no cavity search. But strange they made me take off my clothes just because I swerved (slightly!) on the road. I will be getting in touch with this girl's lawyer.
By Monica888 (1), Manhattan on Oct 11, 08 5:53 PM
The problems with the Southampton Village Police Department were due to TONE AT THE TOP! The Police Chief, Jimmie Sherry was always a jerk. Remember when he shot himself in the foot. The Village Police are a joke.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Oct 11, 08 9:50 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 12, 08 10:23 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By highway (2), southampton on Oct 13, 08 4:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 13, 08 6:15 PM
RonDo,

Ms. Hartline was charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree:

Sec. 221.10 Criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree.
A person is guilty of criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth
degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses:
1. marihuana in a public place, as defined in section 240.00 of this
chapter, and such marihuana is burning or open to public view; or
2. one or more preparations, compounds, ...more
By BOReilly (135), Hampton Bays on Oct 14, 08 9:41 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BOReilly (135), Hampton Bays on Oct 14, 08 9:41 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 14, 08 10:17 AM
BOReilly,

If you look at the accusatory instruments filed with court you will see that sub section 1 was foolishly applied to the Hartline arrest. “1. marihuana in a public place, as defined in section 240.00 of this chapter, and such marihuana is burning or open to public view;” and not the aggregate weight.

This means the old “warm to the touch” scam to bump up a “violation” marihuana possession to a Class- B misdemeanor was employed here. The public might be mislead by your ...more
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 14, 08 10:29 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 14, 08 10:31 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By UnderDog, Water Mill on Oct 14, 08 10:37 AM
Northsea - I saw the part where she _alleges_ that only females were strip-searched. A simple check of the policy and jail records would show one way or the other. But I do agree that if the policy only applies to women, the cops should pay. And, having the seeds is illegal, just like growing the plant is. She's a criminal, and she got the criminal treatment.

RonDo - I think the argument that her car had the marijuana is completely ridiculous. What are they gonna do, arrest the car??? It's ...more
By John Q (2), Smalltown on Oct 15, 08 10:34 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Oct 16, 08 9:40 AM
John Q.,
Thank you for reading my comments and offering your perspective. The legal argument that the car and not the person is in possession of marihuana is to encourage the reader. The fact that you can't arrest a car and only a person is the legal basis NOT to arrest under the circumstances. A true law enforcement professional know when to walk away from a no arrest situation.

You will read more on this topic for sure. Police need probable cause to get a search warrant for a ...more
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 16, 08 4:54 PM
For an unbridled version see:
www.southamptonpolice.blogspot.com
By RonDo (33), Southampton on Oct 16, 08 9:39 PM
Am not entirely familiar with this story - am just skimming the story - except for the fact that it seems excessive to search the woman - unless the drugs evident in the car is enough to constitute probable cause. My point here is to note that a man who strangled and (in some kind of irreversable rage) murdered someone in full view of many witnesses at the Publick House in Southampton this past summer was neither searched for drugs nor tested for the amount of alchohol or potential drugs he may ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Oct 23, 08 12:42 PM
To clarify this situation and offer some truths to the community: The juror above said they weren’t informed on ANY marijuana laws which clearly states under 28 grams of marijuana for a first time offender is a civil citation. Similar to a speeding ticket, a violation under the law. There is only one way to make this amount of marijuana a higher charge, a misdemeanor is any amount under 28 grams in public where marijuana is burning or open to public view.

The juror above also clearly stated. ...more
By Justice (4), Southampton on Jun 25, 09 5:45 PM