Hahahahahaaa yes this has happened to me. It only needs to happen once before you learn to never let it happen again.
First hand experience makes a difference:
Since all the Justices have cell phones, they all understood the importance of protecting privacy by curtailing warrantless cell phone searches.
Since only three of the Justices have the ability to reproduce, more than half of the Court decided to limit a woman’s ability to obtain contraceptive health care through her employee health plan.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not amused.
I’m waiting with bated breath for this evening’s summaries of oral argument in Riley v. California and US v. Wurie. These cases hit so close to my daily practice — I have filed countless motions to suppress cell phone and smart phone searches after cavalier law enforcement seizures.
As a boots on the ground criminal defense practitioner, the issues that I find most disturbing with a cell phone/smart phone seizures are: first, the fact that cell phones/smart phones are not, in fact, phones, but rather small computers capable of holding a lifetime of personal data and GPS tracking information; and secondly, that obtaining a warrant to search takes a bare minimum of time and effort (as you can imagine, it can be done in moments with a cell phone/smart phone — all they need is a barebones statement of probable cause). In essence, the amount of time and work it takes to get a warrant is so minuscule compared to the amount of information a cell phone/smart phone can reveal, that these repeated warrantless searches of cell phones/smart phones are just another example of law enforcement making an end run around the Constitution.
I find the law enforcement counterargument — that cell phones/smart phones can be remotely “wiped” of information while police pause to get a warrant — unconvincing. First, there are inexpensive ways to store a cell phone/smart phone in a signal-proof protective bag while getting a warrant. Those bags and envelopes are widely available and not expensive. Secondly — and much more importantly, I’d wager — is that the vast majority of arrested people do not have a co-conspirator sitting at a computer waiting to wipe their phone. They just don’t. They are not part of a massive conspiracy or drug cartel with endless resources and a tech guy on the payroll. They are poor people, or drug-addicted people, or mentally ill people, or people who are driving on a suspended license or forgot to signal. No one is going to tamper with their phones while they sit in the back of a police car. That’s paranoid law enforcement nonsense.
Reblogging myself because I am tickled pink with SCOTUS’ unanimous decisions in Riley and Wurie. I’m so glad that the justices understood that smart phone technology is here to stay; that carrying tiny computers with our entire lives on them in our pockets is how it’s always going to be and not just a fly by night technological fad. I’m so glad that they understood that searching a cell phone incident to arrest is a contemporary manifestation of England’s General Warrant over the colonists — a primary reason the American colonies fought for independence. I’m so glad that the Court affirmed that privacy is important, even in the age of digital transparency. It gives me hope that the Fourth Amendment will endure.
Chief Justice Roberts gets almost snarky and I love it:
"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."