SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) The Hampden County Sheriff’s Office is appealing a federal court judge’s ruling that it is unconstitutional for male guards to videotape strip searches of female inmates at a western Massachusetts jail.
Defendants Michael J. Ashe, Jr. and Patricia Murphy filed the appeal on Wednesday. Ashe and Murphy are also appealing the judge’s ruling that they are not entited to qualified immunity. Qualified immunity shields government officials from liability for the violation of an individual’s federal constitutional rights.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor ruled that allowing men to videotape nude female inmates at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center is “antithetical to human dignity” and “deeply humiliating.”
A class-action lawsuit filed against the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, was brought on behalf of 178 former and current detainees at the Chicopee jail. The plaintiffs said the policy was a violation of their protection against unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment.
The appeal will be argued in the First Circuit Court of Appeals.