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Can Police Search a Cell Phone Without a Warrant

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Well this was a sad week for citizen’s rights. The California Supreme Court ruled Monday 5 to 2 that police do not need a warrant to search your cell phone if you are in custody. Since ‘in custody’ is a very loose term that police have always taken advantage of, this pretty much means ‘whenever they want.’ If you are in California, be aware that your phone can be a part of an investigation at basically anytime. Make sure to delete your phone log and text message records on a regular basis. Of course, they can get the records from the phone company, but that still requires a warrant. Analyzing your phone on the other hand, does not. If you want to read the entire court decision, click this link. It’s only 38 pages long…

A summary would be: a guy gets caught with marijuana and ecstasy; the cops search him and everything on him, including his cell phone. The guy says that went too far, that his phone is not his person, and therefore has more protection against searches and seizures. His attorneys weren’t saying that the cops could never look at his phone, just that they needed a warrant to do so. Unfortunately, the majority of California Supreme Court Justices did not agree. As a result, basic civil rights go out the window, and cops can now search your phone at any time in California if you are ‘in custody’ which is up to the cops prosecutorial discretion…so basically, whenever they want to be a dick about it….

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Johnny Green

2 Comments

  1. “so basically, whenever they want to be a dick about it.” and isn’t that most of the time?

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