Criminal defense lawyers and privacy advocates alike are cheering the latest
ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) requiring law
enforcement agencies to attain a warrant before they search an arrestee's
Supreme Court Decision Has Roots in California
The U.S. Supreme Court deliberated two cases involving cell phones when
making its verdict. One of the cases, Riley v. California, began in California.
San Diego police pulled over driver David Riley for expired tags. A search
of the vehicle discovered guns in his truck and he was arrested. Law enforcement
officials then searched his smartphone and found evidence linking Riley
to gang activity. This evidence was used to later convict him.
Riley argued the search of his cell phone violated his
Fourth Amendment rights and attempted to suppress the evidence gathered. The trial court denied
his request and the California Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.
The case went all the way to SCOTUS, where they agreed with Riley that
searching cell phones without a proper warrant was unconstitutional.
SCOTUS Keeping Up With Modern Technology
Law enforcement officials had argued that cell phones, smart or otherwise,
should be considered the same as items in a suspect's pocket and are
subject to search and seizure. With over 90% of Americans owning cell
phones according to a survey conducted by Pew Research, such assumptions
can have far-reaching consequences for criminal defendants or anyone else
wishing to keep their contents private.
In reality, cell phones have become nothing less than hand-held computers
and should be protected as such. Chief Justice John Roberts agreed and
wrote the following in his court opinion:
"The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information
in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection
for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police
must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is
accordingly simple — get a warrant."
The Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey fights to protect your Fourth Amendment rights!
Our Bakersfield criminal defense lawyer is up-to-date on all judgments
pertinent to the Fourth Amendment and the ramifications of such rulings
on a case. With more than 25 years of combined experience, our team has
the depth of knowledge and tenacity needed to craft the best criminal
defense possible to get you acquitted.
Contact us today to learn how our team can fight your charges!