No Warrant: Can police search your phone?

Tampa, Florida – The Supreme Court is debating whether police can search your cell phone following an arrest without a warrant.

Because mobile devices can hold mounds of information that have nothing to do with the initial arrest in the first place, many are concerned that current warrantless searches violate privacy.

"They can arrest your for any number of trivial reasons. Just because the police stop and arrest you, they should not have the ability to look at your cell phone," said Mike Pheneger with the American Civil Liberties Union in Tampa.

During a traffic stop, police can search your car and your pockets for weapons or anything that indicates that you were involved in criminal activity related to your stop, which includes your cell phone.

But now that people keep much more personal information on their cell phones than ever before, the question arises as to whether police have a right to access all of your other person information.

LINK: More on warrantless cell phone searches

"We've got to allow the law to evolve as technology involves, but because technology evolves doesn't mean we need to handcuff law enforcement officers," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

He said the argument that deputies would be going through your medical or banking records is overblown.

"If you take the conspiracy theorist out of it … we don't care what you have in your cell phone, we don't care what you have in your car. If it's not advancing your criminal conduct, we don't care," said Judd.

The issues arose from two separate incidents in which warrantless cell phone searches were conducted and the arrested individual was tried based on information collected from their phones.

A Supreme Court decision is expected to be handed by June or July, with the outcome affecting the estimated 90 percent of Americans who own a mobile device.


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