Supreme Court of the United States: Riley v. California   [open pdf - 189KB]

Alternate Title: Supreme Court Ruling to Protect Cell Phone Privacy

This Supreme Court ruling maintains that "police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested. [...] A warrantless search in reasonable only if it falls within a specific exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. [...] The well established exception at issue here applies when a warrentless search is conducted incident to a lawful arrest." This ruling came as a result of the Riley v. California case in which petitioner Riley's cell phone was seized and accessed by law enforcement officials. "Riley was stopped for a traffic violation, which eventually led to his arrest on weapons charges. An officer searching Riley incident to the arrest seized a cell phone from Riley's pants pocket. The officer accessed information on the phone and noticed the repeated use of a term associated with a street gang. At the police station two hours later, a detective specializing in gangs further examined the phone's digital contents. Based in part on photographs and videos that the detective found, the State charged Riley in connection with a shooting that had occurred a few weeks earlier and sought an enhanced sentence based on Riley's gang membership. Riley moved to suppress all evidence that the police had obtained from his cell phone. The trial court denied the motion, and Riley was convicted." This case was decided together with Case No. 13-212, United States v. Wurie, in which respondent Wurie was arrested after police observed him participate in an apparent drug sale, apprehended him, and seized his cell phone and information.

Report Number:
Supreme Court No. 13-132
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourt.gov/
Media Type:
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