In one, from Boston, a federal appeals court said the warrantless, but limited, search of an older flip phone violated the Fourth Amendment. After arresting Brima Wurie on suspicion of selling crack cocaine, police eventually examined the call log on his flip phone and used the information to determine where he lived. When they searched Wurie's home, armed with a warrant, they found crack, marijuana, a gun and ammunition. The evidence was enough to produce a conviction and a prison term of more than 20 years.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The article doesn't say whether the police asked to look through the phone or if they just "did it". Most cops know the procedure, and know something as sloppy as just going through a suspects phone without asking or notifying them can lose a case on appeal. But with the little bit given in the article, the cops found the home address of the suspect, which is in par of the investigation..so...it's not like they went through the phone looking for other suspects to arrest in connection to this one person.
It's tricky because each states law differ on their procedures, but in reading the little bit of information in the articles, the police were within the scopes of the investigations, and it does state in the article that the Supreme Court had ruled:
But in the early 1970s, the Supreme Court carved out exceptions for officers dealing with people they have arrested. The court was trying to set clear rules that allowed police to look for concealed weapons and prevent the destruction of evidence. Briefcases, wallets, purses and crumpled cigarette packs all are fair game if they are being carried by a suspect or within the person's immediate control.
In both cases, the police can easily argue the suspects could have deleted evidence needed in the prosecution of the cases.