The Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California held that police must obtain a warrant before going through people’s cellphones. In a unanimous decision, this ruling is at the soul of privacy rights and marks a win for more American privacy in the ever changing technology era.
This ruling arose from two different cases Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie. In both cases police seized the defendant’s cell phone, incident to arrest, looked through it for information and that incriminating information found was used against the defendants in court.
The Police argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone’s life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections.
The Supreme Court went on to say, “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,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion. “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.”
SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) went even further to say law enforcement cannot check a cellphone’s call log because it could contain more information than phone numbers, and examining the call log is a violation of privacy that can be justified only with a court-issued warrant.
If a warrantless search was conducted on you or a family member leading to a criminal charge please contact MDH & Associates for a free consultation 615-308-5405. It’s good to know your rights!