A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers.
That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with his then-15-year-old girlfriend. Her mother reported the incident to the Manassas City Police Department in January 2014.
Eventually, the detective assigned to the case, David Abbott, obtained [documentcloud.org] a signed warrant to take photographs of Sims' naked body—including "the suspect's erect penis"—so that he could compare them to Sims' explicit messages.
[...] The 4th Circuit ruled that Sims' lawsuit against the estate of the now-deceased [arstechnica.com] officer who had led the sexting investigation, David Abbott, could move forward. "We cannot perceive any circumstance that would justify a police search requiring an individual to masturbate in the presence of others," two of the 4th Circuit judges wrote. "Sexually invasive searches require that the search bear some discernible relationship with safety concerns, suspected hidden contraband, or evidentiary need."
The case will now be sent back down to a federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia.