Smart Phones and the 4th Amendment
For this blog's inaugural post, let's talk about today's Supreme Court decision in Riley v. Calfornia. At issue there was whether police can search a suspect's smart phone, without a warrant, at the time of arrest. In a 9-0 decision on the judgment, the Supreme Court said no, they cannot.
The decision is significant in that it recognizes the reality of smart phones in the digital age. As Chief Justice Roberts notes in writing the opinion of the court:
"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. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."
The decision is available here: Riley v. California