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San Mateo DUI, Criminal Defense Lawyer
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Should the Police be Authorized to Search Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant?

Important Search and Seizure Ruling Expected on Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

An important ruling is expected to be issued in the next few weeks by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of cell phone searches. Two cases are currently before the Court, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie. The Fourth Amendment protects our “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” There are, however, a few exceptions. For example, when the police place you under arrest, they don’t need a warrant to search you for weapons or evidence. But what about the cellphone that you may be carrying in your pocket at that time? May the police also conduct a warrantless search of that phone? Would this include the many private emails, messages, photos, videos, and GPS tracking data it undoubtedly contains? These two cases raise those very questions.

Obama Administration

According to the Obama administration, which has taken the side of aggressive law enforcement, “Although cell phones can contain a great deal of personal information, so can many other items that officers have long had authority to search, and the search of a cell phone is no more intrusive than other actions that the police may take once a person has been lawfully arrested.” During oral argument, however, several justices appeared deeply troubled by the implications of that position. “Take an offense like failing to buckle up, even driving under the influence,” observed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to California Solicitor General Edward Dumont. “It’s your rule…that the cell phone is fair game no matter what the crime, no matter how relatively unimportant the crime.” That, Ginsburg stressed, “opens the world to the police.”

Do you know someone who’s currently facing criminal charges and believe their Fourth Amendment Rights were violated by the police? Call The Law Offices of Ross Green for a free consultation. (650) 780 – 0707, 600 Allerton Suite, Suite 202G, Redwood City, CA 94063.

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Redwood City, CA 94063

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