The United States Supreme Court recently held that warrantless searches and seizures of a cell phone during an arrest are unconstitutional. In Riley v. California, the defendant was arrested after a traffic stop. The police found loaded guns in his car and then took his phone and searched through it. The police looked at his messages, contacts, videos, and photographs. Riley was then charged with a shooting that occurred weeks before he was pulled over for the traffic stop.
Courts relied on the ”search incident to arrest” exception to the warrant requirement in the past. However, in Riley v. Calif. , Justice Roberts reasoned that, “Digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape. Law enforcement officers remain free to examine the physical aspects of a phone to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon–say, to determine whether there is a razor blade hidden between the phone and its case. Once an officer has secured a phone and eliminated any potential physical threats, however, data on the phone can endanger no one.” Justice Roberts rationally explained that the search incident to arrest exception should not apply to a cell phone. Justice Roberts then wrote, “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life.’ 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.” Minneapolis Defense attorney Max A. Keller of Keller Law Offices has argued in many cases that police need to get a search warrant in similar cases, either for phones or to test blood, urine, or breath in a DWI arrest or other types of cases. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed with what many Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney’s have been arguing for a long time.
This is a big win in criminal law and an important ruling. If you have been charged with a crime stemming from information obtained from your cell phone, contact an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney. Max A. Keller will fight for your rights and argue any constitutional issues that apply in your case. Call the Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Keller Law Offices NOW for a free consultation.