Cell Phone Searches

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday police must almost always obtain a warrant before searching mobile devices seized when arresting someone….

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the Court’s unanimously held opinion, said

Modern cellphones aren’t a technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life.”

Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cellphone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant[.]

With this ruling the Court, among other things, placed the contents of cell phones outside the permissible warrantless searches allowed pursuant to an arrest that’s for the safety of the police (to ensure, for instance, the arrestee has no weapons or other devices that he could use to harm the arresting officer(s) and/or to attempt escape) and to safeguard related evidence until a warrant otherwise could be obtained.

Someone wrote earlier that this is the ruling that was warranted.

The opinion can be read here.

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