Question asked on Mar 26th, 2014

Q: I had a hearing without being represented and the plaintiff’s attorney claimed I hide credit cards. The attorney asked me to pull my wallet and show my cards, the judge approved it. Is it legal to have a search on me without any representation, subpoena or any indication and do it on the spot?

 A: To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever challenged an in-court order from the judge to take a drug test, reveal the contents of a wallet, show a tattoo, etc., which kind of orders are actually made all the time — so it is hard to say what the limits on judicial power of that kind would be (the question is not so much a family law question as a criminal law/Fourth Amendment question).  If it was demanded, and you complied, there is probably little you can do about it at this point; if you refused, and were detained, consult with criminal defense counsel for your options.
Marshal S. Willick