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California Allows Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

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01/08/2011 01:13 AM
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California Allows Warrantless Cell Phone Searches
Ruling allows for cell phones and other devices of arrested to be searched without a warrant

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that police without a warrant, according to NPR, could search a cell phone of an arrested individual.

The court found that a Ventura County deputy did not infringe on the civil rights of a man he had arrested under suspicion of dealing drugs by reading through the text messages on the man's cell phone.

Despite previous contrary rulings in Ohio Supreme Court and U.S. District Court -- both found that police could not search cell phones without warrants -- the 5-2 California ruling was said to be an affirmation of a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that states police can search property found on suspects when they are arrested. In the California Supreme Court's interpretation, this property also includes cell phones and the data they contain.

The case stems from a 2007 arrest. Defendant Gregory Diaz's cell phone was confiscated while he was arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs. An hour-and-a-half later another officer found text messages implicating Diaz in a drug deal on the defendant's cell phone. Diaz pled guilty and was sentenced to probation, but appealed the search, on the grounds that it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.


[link to www.dailytech.com]