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Texas woman strip-searched, tossed in jail for not paying traffic ticket within 60 days

- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Texas woman was arrested, strip-searched and jailed for an overdue traffic ticket Wednesday, a local CBS affiliate first reported.

Sarah Boaz said she was cuffed outside her Richland Hills home by an officer who was waiting for her when she stepped out to go to work, the New York Daily News reported.

The officer told her a warrant had been issued for her arrest after she failed to pay a summons for running a stop sign in August. Mrs. Boaz admitted that she didn't pay the fine because she lost the summons.

"I'm like nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days," she told the Daily News. "Why would you do that?"

Mrs. Boaz said she was forced to step into a jail cell and remove her clothes for a search. Her family bailed her out within a couple of hours.

Attorney Jason Smith said that the city often cracks down on scofflaws.

"The Constitution doesn't keep the government or government officials from using common sense," Mr. Smith told a local CBS affiliate. "Unfortunately, some police officers, some governments, get overly aggressive because they want that ticket revenue."

Municipal court officials said two reminders were sent to Mrs. Boaz, which she says she never got.

CBS 11 News reported that being stripped down is standard procedure for the jail in North Richland Hills, a Fort Worth suburb. The police department said that though the woman was forced to undress, the search is not considered a strip-search.

"She was given a dress out. Before they go into the cell they are taken by a detention officer of the same sex to a private room with no cameras. They have to remove all clothing and they are given a jumpsuit. The officer searches their clothes, at no time does the officer touch them," police said in a statement to CBS 11 News.

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