SCOTUS to hear arguments on searching cell phones - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

SCOTUS to hear arguments on searching cell phones

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Almost 90 percent of Americans have cell phones. If that cell phone is a smart phone, massive amounts of personal information can be stored on it. Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments as to whether police need warrants to search cell phones of suspects they arrest. The challenge is to apply the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures," in the digital age.

In Texas earlier this year, the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote an opinion that likened searching a cell phone to searching a house, computer, medicine cabinet, desk and phones of suspects they arrest. In Texas earlier this year, the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote an opinion that said looking at a cell phone's information was like searching a desk, a computer, medicine cabinet and more all at once. The courts, however, for more than 40 years have allowed warrantless searches in connection with arrests. Such a search was deemed justifiable to protect police officers and to keep evidence from being destroyed. The Justice Department wants the same rule to apply to new technological advances such as smart phones. Others, however, are pushing for a new standard because of the sheer amount of personal data stored on the devices.

A decision from the high court is expected in June.
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