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Police can't examine contents of a suspects cell phone?

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:23 pm
by brian
Warrantless cell phone searches ruled off-limits
December 16, 2009,James Nash, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
In a 4-3 ruling, the state's top court said police aren't entitled to scroll through call logs or look at other information in a cell phone without a warrant unless the data are necessary to protect them from imminent harm. The majority said police in Beavercreek, a Dayton suburb, overstepped their authority in 2007 when they seized a cell phone from a drug-trafficking suspect and used his call log to verify contact with a police informant.
See the Full Story
COMMENT: So how exactly are the police going to determine if a driver was texting and/or was on the cell phone prior to a collision? Do they have to get a warrant? Guess in addition to impounding cars, police will also have to impound cell phones!

Re: Police can't examine contents of a suspects cell phone?

Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:08 pm
by brian
See the dec 25, 2009 Editorial from the New York Times entitled:
Cellphone Searches
Which states "The Ohio Supreme Court has struck an important blow for privacy rights, ruling that the police need a warrant to search a cellphone. The court rightly recognized that cellphones today are a lot more than just telephones, that they hold a wealth of personal information and that the privacy interest in them is considerable. This was the first such ruling from a state supreme court. It is a model for other courts to follow."
And Concludes: "Few federal courts have considered the issue of cellphone searches, and they have disagreed about whether a warrant should be required. The Ohio ruling eloquently makes the case for why the very personal information that new forms of technology aggregate must be accorded a significant degree of privacy."
See the Full Editorial

Re: Police can't examine contents of a suspects cell phone?

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:24 pm
by brian
Feb 18, 2010: Police push for warrantless searches of cell phones
With Blackberrys, iPhones, laptops, and similarly capacious electronic gadgets, What are the ground rules for when police can conduct warrantless searches? An important legal question remains unresolved: as our gadgets store more and more information about us, including our appointments, correspondence, and personal photos and videos, what rules should police investigators be required to follow? The Obama administration and many local prosecutors' answer is that warrantless searches are perfectly constitutional during arrests.
A San Mateo County judge is scheduled to hear testimony on Thursday morning on this very issue.
In a 2007 decision in San Francisco the federal judge noted that "the line between cell phones and personal computers has grown increasingly blurry". The U.S. Department of Justice "asserted that officers could lawfully seize and search an arrestee's laptop computer as a warrantless search incident to arrest." The Obama Justice Department has taken the same position about warrantless searches of cell phones.
"I think eventually courts will probably have a new rule" for smartphone searches, said Kerr, the George Washington law professor. "The question is, what the limit will be? You can imagine different possibilities. Maybe there's a time limitation. We just don't know. It's too early."
See the Cnet.com article: Police push for warrantless searches of cell phones
Case specific information:
WHAT:People v. Taylor
WHEN: Thursday, February 18, 2010 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Department 2A, San Mateo County Superior Court, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063

Re: Police can't examine contents of a suspects cell phone?

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:54 am
by brian
Jan 7, 2011: Courts make conflicting calls on whether police need warrant to search cellphone
  • A recent California Supreme Court decision says police do not need search warrants to examine the cellphones of those under arrest. But local judges and a deputy chief for the Dallas Police Department say officers should obtain warrants before reading the contents of cellphones
The law is still evolving. See the full article: Courts make conflicting calls on whether police need warrant to search cellphone