June 25, 2014

"In a major statement on privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest."

"Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said the vast amount of data contained on modern cellphones must be protected from routine inspection."

17 comments:

James Pawlak said...

Of course the police can: Hold the phone for a short time (How long?) to allow application for a warrant; And, continue to inflict lies and the more dangerous half-truths on judges to obtain such warrants.

MayBee said...

Yay!

Levi Starks said...

Which no judge will deny,
And you'll spend the time waiting for the warrant handcuffed laying on your face on the pavement.
But still it's a good call.
It will probably at least save some people from becoming victims of over zealous officers.

Brent said...

The correct decision.
And it's unanimous.
Best news of the day.

Curious George said...

They can always just call the NSA.

Levi Starks said...

And what about people who they haven't yet arrested, but are bullied into submitting into an illegal search?
I picture specially trained dogs that will sniff out incriminating evidence on your phone, thereby warranting a search.

Nonapod said...

It's sad to think that such an obvious, common sense, constitution upholding decision should in anyway be surprising.

rhhardin said...

Keep documents at home rolled up inside an old rotary dial desk phone, is my advice.

EDH said...

Didn't have time to read opinion.

Does it say anything about the particularity requirement?

In other words, is a general search "John Doe's cell phone" all that is required in the application and warrant, or does the requirement extend to the particularity of certain content on the phone, but not all content?

Particularity.—"The requirement that warrants shall particularly describe the things to be seized makes general searches under them impossible and prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another. As to what is to be taken, nothing is left to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant." This requirement thus acts to limit the scope of the search, inasmuch as the executing officers should be limited to looking in places where the described object could be expected to be found. The purpose of the particularity requirement extends beyond prevention of general searches; it also assures the person whose property is being searched of the lawful authority of the executing officer and of the limits of his power to search. It follows, therefore, that the warrant itself must describe with particularity the items to be seized, or that such itemization must appear in documents incorporated by reference in the warrant and actually shown to the person whose property is to be searched.

rhhardin said...

Richard Epstein had a somewhat contrary opinion mp3 podcast Apr 30, on the Massachusetts case.

eddie willers said...

I hope you post on today's Aereo decision as well.

Scalia (in his dissent) is right again.

What a messed up decision.

Tibore said...

Yeah, I'm with EDH. If there's no particularity requirement, then this isn't as big a deal privacy-wise as it appears. But if there is, then it's every bit the good victory privacy advocates would want.

traditionalguy said...

Unreasonable Search prohibition is a rule that colonists demanded because they were all experienced smugglers who skillfully avoided the British Tax collectors.

The Crack Emcee said...

What about people they don't arrest but just harass for information?

White people have life so easy,...

Bruce Hayden said...

I thought that the decision was well reasoned and well written. CJ Roberts really is a gifted legal scholar, despite what many think of him.

Steve said...

Hopefully, this will be the first in a string of cases that will review Fourth Amendment protections in light of changes in technology. Pen registers once took time, space and manpower. Now it is powering up a few computers to record the movements and contacts of the entire population.

I know it is overly optimistic to think that freedoms lost can be regained.

Alex said...

It doesn't really matter. What's to stop the police from doing it anyways against a frightening poor citizen ill equipped to fight the system? The police know this.