Ruling that police must obtain a warrant before conducting a strip search of suspects, a New Jersey appeals court ordered evidence in a drug case suppressed and reversed the conviction Jan. 19.

In State v. Hayes, A-5884-97T4, a three-judge Appellate Division panel ruled unanimously that police cannot conduct a strip search without court authorization — even where there is probable cause to believe a defendant is concealing contraband or evidence of a crime — unless there is a recognized exception to the warrant requirement.

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