Linda R. Reade, a federal judge in Cedar Rapids reduced a jury award for two women who were illegally strip searched after being arrested at a George Bush rally in 2004. According to Reade, the awards in the sums of $250,000 and $400,000 to the protesters--former teachers Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson--originally made in June, were "excessive." The judge ruled that the awards would be reduced to $25,000 and $50,000 respectively. McCabe and Nelson have five business days from the ruling date to appeal.
The women were arrested during a George W. Bush campaign rally in Noelridge Park. The pair brought a suit against Bruce Macauley, a Secret Service agent, and Michelle Mais, a former Linn County jailer. There was a directed guilty verdict against Mais for the illegal strip-search, but the jury found in favor of Macauley who arrested them for not moving from a secured area when he requested.
The women sued the defendants for violating their freedom of speech and assembly and equal protection rights. The eight-member jury deliberated almost four hours in the U.S. District Court of Northern Iowa civil case of protesters.