In reference to Smallwood vs State, Cedric Tyrone Smallwood was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for a convenience store robbery. PROSECUTOR: In your training and experience with…the Sheriff’s Office, is it unusual for a suspect, any suspect, to take photos or have videos of them that are of evidentiary value? This entry was posted in Legal, Street and tagged Cell Phone Search, Florida Supreme Court, Smallwood vs State of Florida. Enter your email address to subscribe to TBF and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Court had heard arguments in April 2014 in two cases addressing warrantless searches of cell phones.
Police may still search a phone’s physical aspects to make sure that the phone itself will not be used as a weapon, but since the data on the phone does not endanger anyone, the data cannot be searched without a warrant. David UrbanDavid Urban represents organizations in all aspects of labor and employment law, and has over fifteen years of litigation experience.
Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court ruled that police officers may conduct warrantless searches of cell phones and other mobile electronic devices found on the person of someone who has been lawfully arrested.  The opinion, People v. As pointed out by the two dissenting justices, Justices Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos Moreno, the majority’s decision allows police “carte blanche, with no showing of exigency, to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee’s person. In a rare 9-0 decision last week, the Supreme Court of the United States held that police may not search cell phone data as a search incident to arrest.
The Court combined two companion cases for the purpose of deciding the issue of whether searching through cell phone data was a valid search incident to arrest.
In California v Wurie, the defendant was arrested after police observed a drug transaction in a car. The Fourth Amendment grants a right to privacy in our homes, papers, and effects by restricting the government from performing unreasonable searches and seizures. The search incident to arrest is limited to the area immediately within the arrestee’s control.
The Supreme Court correctly recognized that cell phones are unique and vastly different than most physical objects that may be recovered on an arrestee’s person. The justices noted that digital data cannot be used as a weapon against the police or to help the arrestee escape. The government argued that searching a phone could protect the officer’s safety by looking for warnings that the arrestee’s confederates were coming to the scene. If you are facing criminal charges and believe your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated or you are the victim of an unreasonable search and seizure, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan Fourth Amendment lawyer for a free consultation! Defending criminal charges, Fourth Amendment, and other Constitutional rights throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Jackson, Clinton, Kent, Calhoun, Kalamazoo in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Brighton, Howell, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Charlotte, St.


Neither this web site or any information contained within it constitutes legal advice or legal consultation. One, to see if it was the same one he had been calling me from, and to see if, in fact, did he have any pictures or anything that might be evidence to the crime.
Instead, the Court held that police must generally obtain a warrant if they want to search an arrestee’s phone. At the police station, police noticed an incoming call on Wurie’s phone from “my house.” They accessed his call log and traced the number to Wurie’s residence. Such a warrantless search is justified by balancing the interests in the officer’s safety versus the legitimate governmental interests. The police can certainly examine the physical aspect of the phone to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon, but not the digital information. SCOTUS held that this type of argument is best left to a case-by-case basis under an exigent circumstances analysis. The government proposed that the Court could limit the holding so that police officers could only search phone data for relevant information pertaining to the crime the defendant was arrested for. California, that police may not generally search the cell phones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.
For example, if there is evidence to suggest that an arrestee’s cell phone will be the target of an imminent remote-wipe, the police may be able to rely on exigent circumstances to conduct a warrantless search. 1, 14-15 (1977) (emphasis added).  Neither of those circumstances existed in this case, as the cell phone had already been confiscated and secured by the police. Additionally, as explained by the Ohio Supreme Court and the dissent in Diaz, the nature and extent of the information contained on cell phones and personal computers prevents a reasonable comparison between a search of such devices and a search of an arrestee’s wallet or similar container.
That is a big victory for the Fourth Amendment as Constitutional and privacy advocates rejoiced. However, there are numerous exceptions to the search warrant requirement that have been enumerated by the Supreme Court over the years.
The governmental interest being the aforementioned safety of the officer and to prevent the destruction of evidence. The government further argued that cell phones are susceptible to remote wiping and data encryption, so searching through them will preserve any evidence that may be lost or destroyed. Seeing possibly incriminating photographs of Smallwood with a handgun and what looked like the stolen money, packaged as described by the victim clerk, JSO investigators applied for and received a search warrant for the contents of the cell phone.
Should the police confront an authentic “now or never” situation, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, they may be entitled to search the cell phone if “exigent circumstances” exist.
Riley, who was pulled over by police in San Diego in 2009 for having an expired vehicle registration.


CharbonneauLisa Charbonneau represents and advises Liebert Cassidy Whitmore clients in all matters pertaining to labor and employment law.
2011), demonstrates a split in how states interpret Supreme Court precedent regarding Fourth Amendment, and its protections against unlawful searches.  The implications of this ruling are far reaching and the division between the states’ interpretations of the Constitution warrants a review of this issue by the United States Supreme Court.
The justices stated that not only was this broad concern not proven to be prevalent, but that having the police search through the phone would be an adequate solution.
Instead, the Supreme Court stood firm on the principles of the Fourth Amendment and held that we the people have a right to privacy in our cell phone data. Based upon information they found and after further analysis of the cell phone’s content, Riley was charged with a shooting and faced an enhanced sentence based on gang membership.
The First Circuit reversed the denial, suppressed the evidence, and vacated the conviction. When placed under arrest, the police may search your clothes and artifacts in order to protect the police from anything harmful the arrestee may have and to prevent the destruction of evidence. He went above and beyond to help me achieve a much better than hoped for outcome in my case. The California Court of Appeal said neither search of Riley’s phone required a search warrant.  The second case, United States v. Supreme Court precedent, the Ohio court’s focus was on the extent of the arrestee’s expectation of privacy.  As such, in Ohio, unlike in California, a warrantless search of data within a cell phone seized incident to a lawful arrest is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment when the search is unnecessary for the safety of law enforcement officers and there are no exigent circumstances. The trial court denied Riley’s motion to suppress and the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision. Also, the police will often keep an inventory of everything recovered in order to protect the department from civil suits from defendants who may claim the police lost, stole, or damaged their property. If they believe the phone contains relevant information of a crime, they will need to cite probable cause to a judge or magistrate and get a warrant. Wurie, involved a warrantless search of the call log of a flip phone belonging to Brima Wurie, arrested in 2007 after a police officer observed him making a drug deal from his vehicle.
Court of Appeals found that the police needed to have obtained a warrant to search the cell phone. VaudreuilStefanie Vaudreuil provides general counsel advice to and litigates on behalf of public agency employers, public schools, charter schools, and private education institutions.



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