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

Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, celebrates after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Juan Pablo Montoya Wins Second Indy 500

The Columbian native came from dead last to finish first. He won the event in 2000 as a rookie.


Defense Secretary Carter: Iraqi Forces Lack ‘Will To Fight’ ISIS

Ash Carter, in an interview on CNN, said that the ISF lost Anbar despite “vastly outnumbering” fighters of the self-declared Islamic State.


Malaysia Finds Gravesites In Camps Used By People Smugglers

The gruesome discovery of the sites thought to contain dozens or possibly hundreds of remains of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, follows a similar find this month across the border in Thailand.


Princeton University professor John Nash speaks during a news conference at the university in Oct. 1994 after being named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for economics.

‘Beautiful Mind’ Mathematician John Nash, Jr. Dies In New Jersey Car Crash

The Nobel Prize winner who struggled with schizophrenia and was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 2001 film, died with his wife in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike, officials say. He was 86.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (center) gestures next to Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis (left) and Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Minister Nikos Voutsis. Voutsis says Greece may miss its next debt payment.

Greece Warns That It Will Probably Miss Next Month’s Debt Payment

Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis says a $1.76 billion payment due next month “will not be given and is not there to be given.”


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