Judge rules that police can search suspect's cell phone without warrant?
This is weird.
A judge has ruled that police can search a suspect's cell phone without a warrant. He evidently feels that, since the evidence in the phone might lead to faster solution to an urgent crime, that makes it OK.
Couldn't the same argument be used to justify ANY unwarranted search? Or even torture of a suspect to get the information? I know, the Constitution forbids torture etc. But it also forbids warrantless searches, doesn't it?
There's a major disconnect here. The fact that a certain kind of search makes things easier for police to do their jobs, does NOT mean that that kind of search is constitutional. If it violates the suspect's constitutional rights, it violates his rights, period.
And even weirder part is where the judge says that, since the cop was only looking for names and addresses, that makes it more OK too.
What has that got to do with his constitutional rights?
Even if the guy is a slimebag, he still has rights. Violate his, and next week you'll be violating mine.
I've got to wonder if the story is leaving out something major. Because to me, this is a flagrant case of govt violating a citizen's constitutional rights. How could the judge POSSIBLY conclude this is OK? Did the suspect tell the cop that the names and addresses of the guys holding some kidnap victims, are in his cell phone, but he wasn't letting the cops search it, and then the cops went ahead?
Sort of like if a cop finds a suspect pointing a gun at innocent people, then the cop might be justified in shooting the suspect, because he's actively protecting the lives of innocents during the obvious commission of a crime. But how would searching a cell phone, ever be similar to that?
Police Given Direct Line To Cell Phone Searches
March 6, 2012 10:02 PM
Reporting Jay Gormley
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Think about all the personal information we keep in our cell phones: It’s something to consider after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled it is now legal for police to search cell phones without a warrant.
Former Dallas FBI Agent Danny Defenbaugh said the ruling gives law enforcement a leg up. “I think not only will it help them, but it could be life saving,” said the former Special Agent, who was based in Dallas.
The decision stems from an Indiana case where police arrested a man for dealing drugs. An officer searched the suspect’s cell phone without warrant.
The judge in the appeal case, Judge Richard Posner, agreed that the officer had to search the phone immediately or risk losing valuable evidence. Judge Posner ruled it was a matter of urgency, arguing it was possible for an accomplice to wipe the phone clean using a computer or other remote device.
Defenbaugh says the ruling takes into account exigent or time-sensitive circumstances that could be life saving in more urgent cases, such as child abduction. ”If the child is alive and you’re only minutes behind, that could be critical to recovering that child alive,” added Defenbaugh.
Judge Posner ruled that the search was legal because the officer conducted a limited search and only looked for phone numbers associated with the alleged drug deal. The judge argued it was similar to flipping through a diary to search for basic information such as addresses and phone numbers.
"The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them." - Instapundit.com