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Should police have right to search cell phone after arrest?

posted 1/17/2014 7:00:13 PM |
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  StraddleMyNose

Should police be allowed to search through someone's cell phone without warrant after their arrest?

I personally see nothing wrong in allowing police to search someone's cell phone without a warrant after having already arrested that person, as long as the search is related to the arrest. And if by chance the police happen to stumble across another crime that incriminates the subject on their cell phone, then that too shall be used against him with new charges being filed for that as well.

High court to take up cell phone searches case

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sugarnspice005

Jan 17 @ 10:57PM  
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.

Amendment IV

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.

StraddleMyNose

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Jan 17 @ 11:10PM  
police can easily argue the suspects could have deleted evidence needed in the prosecution of the cases
I'm not sure that would hold up in any court.
sugarnspice005

Jan 17 @ 11:19PM  
From my comment in regards to the U.S. Supreme Court:

The court was trying to set clear rules that allowed police to look for concealed weapons and prevent the destruction of evidence.

Cell phones can carry evidence in them, thus, if a suspect is given a chance, they can destroy evidence. That is my point, and that is the point of the U.S. Supreme Court in the above quote.

It's a fine line between 4th Amendment rights and preserving evidence. Police know there is that line, and have to exercise caution so they don't cross it.

It's hard to really say whether those two cases will hold up with the U.S. Supreme Court because the full details are not in the article. In Michigan, if a cop sees what appears to be a driver texting on their phone while driving, they have the authority to check your phone to see what time your most recent text message is.

Got to take into consideration individual state laws and how they deal with things like this.
StraddleMyNose

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Jan 17 @ 11:25PM  
Cell phones can carry evidence in them, thus, if a suspect is given a chance
Yes, given the chance criminals would do that. The police have to try to confiscate the cell phone with the evidence on it before that would happen.
sugarnspice005

Jan 17 @ 11:40PM  
That was my point.

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Should police have right to search cell phone after arrest?