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Supremes: Police Must Have Warrants to Search Cell Phones
by Karl Bode 03:11PM Wednesday Jun 25 2014
In addition to the Supreme Court's ruling on Aereo, the court today also issued a mammoth ruling that declares law enforcement needs a warrant if they're to search the cell phones of citizens who are arrested. The Obama administration and state prosecutors had pushed for the right to search devices without warrants, arguing that a cellphone was "materially indistinguishable" from any other package found on a suspect. The court made it very clear they weren't having it. "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," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote (pdf).

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mob
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The police will ignore this ruling

The NSA ignores the Constitution every day so why should a local thug with a badge and a gun be held to it?

NO

@50.182.54.x

Re: The police will ignore this ruling

said by mob:

The NSA ignores the Constitution every day so why should a local thug with a badge and a gun be held to it?

I agree with USSC ruling 100%. But I disagree with your charecterization of police as thugs. That is an epithet usually thrown out by criminals and their families. The police just follow the rules laid
out by legislators and prosecutors. Now they will get warrants after arresting the real thugs.

mob
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

said by NO :

said by mob:

The NSA ignores the Constitution every day so why should a local thug with a badge and a gun be held to it?

I agree with USSC ruling 100%. But I disagree with your charecterization of police as thugs. That is an epithet usually thrown out by criminals and their families. The police just follow the rules laid
out by legislators and prosecutors. Now they will get warrants after arresting the real thugs.

All cops are pigs.
The pigs lie in court all the time. Blue shirt + badge = criminal.
It's pretty simple.
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And as always, have nice day.

StuartMW
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Plus the Supreme Court itself has a hit/miss record of upholding The Constitution.
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armed

join:2000-10-20
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

Oh for Christ Sakes. The Supreme court interprets the law to see if it violates the Constitution. Your position is just .... well... stupid to be blunt.
said by StuartMW:

Plus the Supreme Court itself has a hit/miss record of upholding The Constitution.


Thaler
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

said by armed:

Oh for Christ Sakes. The Supreme court interprets the law to see if it violates the Constitution. Your position is just .... well... stupid to be blunt.

Naw. Sometimes they're AWOL, sometimes they're spot on. While there are plenty of examples of this, look at the supreme court upholding the decision to allow eminent domain to apply to shopping malls.

mob
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

said by Thaler:

said by armed:

Oh for Christ Sakes. The Supreme court interprets the law to see if it violates the Constitution. Your position is just .... well... stupid to be blunt.

Naw. Sometimes they're AWOL, sometimes they're spot on. While there are plenty of examples of this, look at the supreme court upholding the decision to allow eminent domain to apply to shopping malls.

It mainly revolves around what their paymasters tell them to do. They allow corporations to steal property, companies are now "people", and much more.

It boils down to this - The government is owned by special interests (big money) and the SCOTUS is just another cog in the machine that rapes America for the benefit of the wealthy.
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Ich habe kein Mitleid - Me
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Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06
Yeah, will be about as effective as the limitations of car and body searches. They usually bully most people into volunteering to be searched, and the few who don't agree are searched for being uncooperative.
openbox9
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Germany
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

Secure your device so that it's not "easily" searchable. If everyone is to assume that the police aren't going to uphold the law, why not make it difficult for them? Personally, I think that's a horrible assumption to live under, but to each their own.

KrK
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They'll just claim they had permission.

However for the truly guilty with expensive lawyers, this might get some of them off.
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openbox9
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Re: The police will ignore this ruling

said by KrK:

They'll just claim they had permission.

If the owner consents to the search, then yes.

No

@50.182.54.x
Police aren't the thugs. The people they arrest are usually the thugs.

StuartMW
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Ironic

It's ironic that the SCOTUS has a problem with local cops going through your cell phone but has none with the NSA collecting all your internet traffic.

As I said hit/miss. You might as well flip a coin.
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chip89
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Independence, OH

Re: Ironic

Exactly like today we won on 1 and lost on the other one!
openbox9
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Re: Ironic

Who's this "we" you speak of? And winning or losing?

tim_k
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said by StuartMW:

It's ironic that the SCOTUS has a problem with local cops going through your cell phone but has none with the NSA collecting all your internet traffic.

And now we have private companies using license plate scanners to amass huge databases of plates and their locations. Some are selling that info.
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Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
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Re: Ironic

If you are out and about in public you should have absolutely no expectation of privacy. If you do, then you have been horribly lied to as you have never had it and never will.

stinks

@50.170.133.x

1 recommendation

Re: Ironic

This recording beyond a immediate use sure makes people consider figuring out a way to block the cameras...

nothing00

join:2001-06-10
Centereach, NY

After the cop is done searching your trunk

"Hey buddy, I'm going to need to take a look at your cell phone too."
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Chief Justice Roberts Comments

He made me laugh. He explained that given how pervasive "cell phones" have become and we store everything from the mundane to the intimate on them, proverbial visitors from Mars might conclude they are a vital part of human anatomy.

He was also careful to note that the term "cell phone" does not adequately describe what a smart phone is.

Further, when the justice department claimed cell phones should be treated no differently than a purse or wallet, the Chief Justice disagreed and said they are as different as a horseback ride and a trip to the moon.

At least the court got it right. I'm sure law enforcement disagrees because they fear the suspect will destroy the device or erase evidence before they have a chance to obtain a warrant and search it. However, don't officers have the option of arresting folks for even simple crimes? When they arrest someone, don't they confiscate and inventory personal belongings and then put them in a lock box? How can the suspect destroy possible evidence if their device is in a lock box and they are in jail waiting to be arraigned? Does this provide ample time to obtain a warrant and search the device?

delusion ftl

@50.168.216.x

Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

Yes,
Basically this makes it so that the police wont bother to get a warrant to search someone's cell phone unless something serious is going on. The police will just hold it until a warrant comes through or is denied. Previously they would just go through it on something as minor as a traffic stop.

What I am more amazed at is that even with the Obama Administration's signal to the court that they wanted warrant-less phone searches legal, ALL the justices (not just the conservative ones) voted that they were unconstitutional.
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06

Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

Probably was the justification Obama needed to present to his secret terrorism court to require that phone companies use firmware that dumps the contents of the phone periodically to the NSA cloud

AVD
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Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

said by Wilsdom:

Probably was the justification Obama needed to present to his secret terrorism court to require that phone companies use firmware that dumps the contents of the phone periodically to the NSA cloud

The cops will get a warrant on skype in 90 seconds.
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rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
"...search someone's cell phone unless something serious is going on..." And that's how it should have always been. Searching a car because they suspect the individual might be armed is one thing. Rifling through personal belongings under the guise of officer safety is silly.
MaynardKrebs
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Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

said by rradina:

.....Rifling through personal belongings under the guise of officer safety is silly.

Same could be said for TSA
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

I don't necessarily agree with what the TSA is allowed to do but officer safety is not the same thing as passenger safety. At least the TSA violates us under the guise of our own safety. (Whether or not it's effective is another discussion.)

The TSA is also a third party to the search. Officers are a critically self-interested party to the search and are more likely to justify bending the rules. Other than deviants, there's little motivation for a TSA associate to exceed their mandate.

KrK
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1 recommendation

said by delusion ftl :

What I am more amazed at is that even with the Obama Administration's signal to the court that they wanted warrant-less phone searches legal, ALL the justices (not just the conservative ones) voted that they were unconstitutional.

I'm not. Think about it.... they are sitting there on the bench, and then thinking about the things they have in their own smartphones at that second, and turning pale at the thought.

Ruling: Unconstitutional! Unanimous.
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"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
CharlesH1

join:2011-04-29
Milpitas, CA
The perp could just signal to a colleague to execute the newly-mandated kill switch on the confiscated phone. Bye-bye evidence. Even without the kill switch, lots of smart-phones have a remote-wipe feature. Wouldn't any reasonably smart crook make sure that incriminating data could be remotely wiped?

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
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Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

said by CharlesH1:

reasonably smart crook

Ah, but here we're talking about a small minority.
firedrakes

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Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

You might be a domestic terrorist if you pay cash or if you "insist" on privacy when, for no reason, you are asked to show your identification. Sadly this is part two and not a You-Might-Be-a-Redneck-If-type joke as there is more proof that you might be a domestic terrorist if you actually believe your Constitutional Rights, or if you express concerns about Big Brother, or even if you have ever discussed the apocalypse online and your 'radical' Christian beliefs. When it comes to disasters, if your plan is to "be prepared" like the Boy Scout motto, then guess what? Be prepared to be suspicious and end up on a watchlist as a domestic terrorist. Prepared Girl Scouts are not safe either.
WhatNow
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Re: Chief Justice Roberts Comments

Smart criminals are already doing remote wipes.

It has gotten to the point that a totally innocent person wrongly accused is the worst fix with the law. First you make the assumption you will walk free because you know nothing about the crime. If you are innocent you need to think and proceed as if you very guilty.

We may be seeing a change. This smartphone ruling and I think the court hit the TSA for not having a process to get off the No Fly list.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
I know someone who was harassed once and arrested twice for not showing identification when asked and NO other reason while walking across country. He spent almost a month in jail in RI and a couple of days in jail in Indiana, and was hassled mercilessly in Florida. No charges were ever filed in any event.

••••••••
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
I thought about that too but smart criminals pay idiots to do the dirty work. Even if an idiot criminal wipes his phone, nothing of consequence is lost.

IowaCowboy
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Good news

If you are ever arrested, you have rights: to remain silent and demand a search warrant for your cell phone.
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tmc8080

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circular argument

the police can search cell phones without even having direct access to them (hacking) these days. with that TECHnical advantage they can then use that information to obtain a search warrant and MANUFACTURE probably cause to actually seize the item itself.

what this does prevent is activist police looking for evidence to arrest someone (even if it's not the person they seized the information on the cell phone) whom they don't like-- such as drug dealers, gang members or news reporters filming police brutality... as examples. what it doesn't stop is intimidation (aka threat of arrest) to force them to show police the evidence themselves (think back to Robocop 3 plot).