California Supreme Court Rules Your Cellphone is Subject to Warrantless Searches

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    According to a California Supreme Court ruling filed just yesterday, it is now perfectly legal for California police to search your cell phone without a warrant if it is present on you during your arrest. Looks like digital information privacy just got a lot less private, at least in California anyway. Interestingly, after I did some digging, I found out that earlier in February 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled just the opposite, stating that it violates a suspects 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights to search through your cell phone without a warrant. Hmmm... they can't both be right? It's interesting to see what new 'legal' problems new technologies like smartphones create. What do you wanna bet that in the next 5-10 years we'll see this stuff argued at the Federal Supreme Court level? For now, if your going to get arrested with naughty pictures of your girlfriend on your cellphone, make sure it's in Ohio, and not California. :icon_eek:

    Source: Arstechnica.com via Gizmodo
    by dgstorm
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  2. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Just a good reason to have a burn app...
  3. DF Smod
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    DF Smod New Member

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    Or a really good password ;)
  4. spaz33g
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    spaz33g Rescue Squad Rescue Squad

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    Hmm looks like I'll be putting my pattern lock on before doing anything devious from now on.
  5. YA123
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    YA123 New Member

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    I live in Ohio and get nudies all the time. Wooo!....actually I don't it's pretty depressing.:( At least I'm the sexiest man on the planet :D.
  6. UltraDroid
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    UltraDroid DF Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I live in Ohio, and was unaware of the Ohio SC decision you're referring to. Good to know that *some* good can come from the OSC, who as a group I am not overly thrilled with.

    -Mike
  7. Firewing
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    Firewing New Member

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    What is a burn app?
    Thanks
    Cara

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  8. Beka27
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    Beka27 New Member

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    Woohoo... great to hear about Ohio (altho maybe this'll force it to be looked at again.) Usually CA is a bit more liberal than Ohio.
  9. Mr. Orange 645
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    Mr. Orange 645 New Member

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    There's actually some other case law on this from other states and its all pretty contradictory and opinions go back and forth case to case. There won't be a definitive answer until a case gets appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court. Whoever said 5-10 years I think you're way off. Probably more like 1-3 years if not already on the docket.

    And keep thinking that passwords and pattern lock will keep the police from searching your phone. Lol.

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  10. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what they would say if you don't unlock it?

    Please have a right to search your car, I think, if they see contraband in plain sight. But a cellphone is not contraband.

    My guess is this is to see if you were texting while driving, although I wonder what the law is on texting while stopped at a red light? One might argue it's the same concept as a field sobriety test if you are driving irradically.

    The fact the OH ruled differently suggest this is one for the higher courts to decide.

    Simple advice if a cop asks for your cellphone (and you have something to hide) is "thank you, officer, but I respectfully refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer present"
  11. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    I live in Ohio. I don't care, there is nothing on my phone illeagal. I have nothing to hide.
  12. Mr. Orange 645
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    Mr. Orange 645 New Member

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    Exactly.

    Also the question isn't if the police can search your phone at random with no just cause. That would be an unreasonable search. The question is if a search incident to arrest (which occurs immediately after arrest to find contraband and evidence of the crime for which you are being arrested) applies to cell phones and other similar devices found either on your person or within your leap and reach.


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  13. UltraDroid
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    Having nothing to hide isn't really the point Hook. Why would cops have the right to grab your cell phone (mine is always in my pocket, BTW) and search through it? In Ohio, they apparently can't without a warrant, in California, they apparently can.

    Comes down to how you view the rights of police officers and law enforcement people vs the rights of private citizens.

    Me - I'm a product of the Sixties...

    -Mike
  14. ypsichick
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    ypsichick New Member

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    My problem with that is they don't stop the illegal aliens, texting & calling while driving, & now you're telling me they are going to do this???!!! I gotta get out of here * &#&$=+$4'>"_$$&$

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  15. spaz33g
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    Will do. If I have a pattern lock set up and I refuse to unlock it they would need a warrant to get in to it. Just sayin.

    tappin and a talkin
  16. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    I'm not making a statement about how I feel about any decisions a court made. I'm saying I don't have anything on my phone so I personally don't care.

    Why do I have the feeling this is going to get political soon?
  17. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Might be due to the fact it goes against the 4th Amendment...
  18. Firewing
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    Firewing New Member

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    I agree a hundred percent ...I am not doing anything illegal, but I don't want my personal texts and emails read, they are mine and should be private ...the police should not be able to read them just because they want to...
    Cara

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  19. Bkelly84
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    Bkelly84 New Member

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    If you are stopped since you are not in motion it is technically not illegal to text, at least not here in utah.



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  20. Mr. Orange 645
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    Mr. Orange 645 New Member

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    That's not what this ruling is saying. Read my last post. Its not a random warrantless search of your property. That is obviously unreasonable. The question is: Do cell phones fall under the search incident to arrest exception. This search would only take place if you were being arrested, not just randomly walking or driving down the street. You may be a product of the sixties, but incorrectly believe you live in a pseudo-fascist society.

    Whether or not your phone is password or pattern lock protected does not effect the need for a search warrant. The circumstances under which the search is executed determines whether or not a warrant is needed. If the US Supreme Court says cellphones are subject to a warrantless search incident to arrest, then it will not matter if you have a password on it or not, if the officer is able to bypass it on scene. The vice versa would also hold true.
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