Police Must Get Warrant For Cellphone Search

2014

In a unanimous ruling in Riley v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court decides that police generally must obtain a warrant to search the cellphone of a suspect. The Court in the past had approved searching many objects found on a suspect. But a search of a cellphone is different, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. says. “The term ‘cell phone’ is itself misleading shorthand; many of these devices are in fact minicomputers that also happen to have the capacity to be used as a telephone,” Roberts writes. “They could just as easily be called cameras, video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers.”