Capital Briefs

Supreme Court: No cellphone searches without warrants

The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that police must have search warrants to go through the phones of people they arrest.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court saying that the large amount of data contained on cellphones must be protected from inspection. However, the court agreed that there are some emergency situations in which warrantless searches would be permitted.

The New York Times reported:

The old rules, Chief Justice Roberts said, cannot be applied to “modern cellphones, which are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”

Until now, the courts have allowed warrantless searches in arrests, claiming that they are necessary to protect police officers and to ensure that evidence isn’t destroyed.

The court heard two cases before issuing one ruling for both. The defendants, David Riley and Brima Wurie, argued that information found on their cellphones should not have been used at their trials because it was obtained without a warrant. In both cases, the Court found the searches to be unconstitutional.

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