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SAN DIEGO - Most people are willing to take off shoes, belts and jewelry to get through metal detector machines, but when two women had to remove their underwire bras to get into a federal jail downtown, there was an uproar.

Attorneys sent letters and made phone calls to jail officials and the federal court's Chief Judge...Neither...would comment on the exchange but said the problem was solved.

"I'm upset, as a matter of principle, that a female attorney would be asked what kind of underwear she has on," said...a lawyer whose bra set off the jail security machine. She was one of several women whose undergarments triggered the new metal detector ...

...was reluctantly let in after she admitted she was wearing an underwire bra. However, two interpreters who were trying to get into the jail to sit in on attorney-client interviews, were not allowed in until they took off their bras.

Neither woman has commented publicly, but friends and family say they were humiliated.
"I couldn't have something like this happen to one of my female lawyers,"...

Jail spokesman ... said the problem is not that the underwire is considered a security risk or a potential weapon but when the machine detects bra metal there is no way to "personally inspect" the clothing to see whether a weapon is in it.

... at least one woman was told that she could not go into the jail as long as she was setting off the machine, ... "At no time was any woman forced to remove any article of clothing or told she had to take anything off."



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