Nation & World News

Supreme Court To Decide If Warrant Needed To Search Cellphone

By Nina Totenberg on January 17th, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court is delving into the technology-versus-privacy debate, agreeing to hear two cases that test whether police making an arrest may search cellphones without a warrant.

The court’s announcement Friday that it would take the cases came just hours after President Obama outlined his proposals to address government retention of citizen phone data as part of his speech outlining reforms at the National Security Agency.

The court said it would hear arguments, likely in April, in two cases with conflicting decisions from the lower courts.

In one case, from California, David Riley was pulled over for expired tags. When police then discovered loaded guns in his vehicle, they arrested Riley and searched his smartphone. Investigators found photos and contacts linking Riley to gang activity, and prosecutors used the smartphone information at trial to win a conviction. Riley received a prison term of 15 years to life.

The California Supreme Court, which had previously ruled that such searches are legal, left Riley’s conviction in place.

Across the country, a federal appeals court in Boston reached the opposite conclusion, barring all warrantless cellphone searches except in emergency situations. The Obama administration appealed that ruling, contending that immediate searches of cellphones are especially important because the information contained in them can be so easily and quickly erased.

The Supreme Court’s eventual decision in these cases could lay the groundwork for future rulings on the NSA’s collection of cellphone metadata.

However the Supreme Court rules, its decision will have enormous practical consequences, since 90 percent of all Americans own mobile phones.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Federal Judge Says South Dakota Officials Violated Native American Families’ Rights

Two of the state’s largest tribes win class action lawsuit alleging that the state routinely put their children in foster care without due process


Andreas Lubitz competes in the Airportrun in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 13, 2009. Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot, is believed to have deliberately crashed his plane carrying 149 others into the French Alps last week.

Lufthansa Says It Knew Of Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz’s Depression

Prosecutors say Lubitz deliberately crashed his plane carrying 149 others into the French Alps last week. Lufthansa said he had informed them in 2009 of a “previous depressive episode.”


Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-Little Rock (center), leads protesters outside the House chamber at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on Monday.

Despite Criticism, Arkansas Passes Religious Freedom Bill

The measure is similar to the controversial law passed by Indiana. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had previously said he would sign the bill into law.


IRS Head Says So Far, So Good For Obamacare’s First Tax Season

Commissioner John Koskinen credits the lack of problems to software geeks who have been getting ready for years.


Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (left) speaks during the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank last year in Beijing.

Dozens Of Countries Join China-Backed Bank Opposed By Washington

Some of Washington’s closest allies have signed on to a new Asian development bank. The U.S. opposes the bank, in part, because it presents a challenge to American influence in the Asia region.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments