It is not common for a case to go in front of the Supreme Court and have a unanimous decision come out of the court system. However, that happened today. The court handed down an interesting decision today; the Supreme Court ruled that police do not have the right to view your cell phone history after stopping you. Officers on a stop need to obtain a warrant in order to search your cell phone.
To quote the ruling:
“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” the ruling said. “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.”
I really do agree with this ruling, and it’s not like there was any descent among the judges (I am still amazed by that). I do know of a few people who do not support or agree with the ruling, they think that if you have nothing to hide, a search of your cell phone history will not reveal anything that can convict you.
However, the constitution protects you from illegal searches and seizures. This is the constitutional right of every American, not just certain law abiding Americans. Yes, some criminals will benefit from this, but the ruling protects everyone from an overpowered government.
I am very interested to see how this affects NJ’s law. NJ passed a law (or is passing a law) stating that police officer can search cell phones during a stop. They passed it so officers can prove if a driver was on the cell phone or texting while driving. Now, with this ruling, I believe that the new law is unconstitutional.
I can’t wait for the first lawsuit to stem from this new law and ruling. And I know my father and I will disagree on this ruling, in fact, we’ll probably argue about it. And I know that the argument will become heated.
That’s what you get when you argue with an ex-cop.