There was a time when cell phones simply stored phone numbers and records of when calls took place, but with so many smart phones in use today, a cell phone can now provide banking records, photos, email conversations, texts, internet search histories and more. Back in 2011, the California legislature tried to enact a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant before they could search a cell phone, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the law. Now, finally, a U.S. Supreme Court decision has made it clear that in order for cell phone searches to be used as evidence, police must first obtain a warrant. If your phone was searched without a warrant, a Carmel Valley criminal attorney can ensure any resulting evidence cannot be used against you.
In fact, it was a San Diego defense lawyer who helped his client, David Riley, appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court after Riley was convicted of attempted murder and other gang-related charges that were largely based on evidence discovered in a warrantless search of his cell phone. In a unanimous decision, the judges ruled that warrantless searches of these devices violate the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
While some police departments already required officers to obtain a warrant before searching someone’s cell phone, the fact that there was no official guideline to do so meant that some departments didn’t require such roadblocks. Notably, that included the San Diego PD. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision did not specify what should happen when it comes to those already convicted in cases that involved warrantless cell phone searches. If you or a loved one were convicted in a criminal case that was largely based on evidence uncovered from your cell phone and the police did not obtain a warrant, please contact a Del Mar criminal attorney to discuss whether or not it would be beneficial to appeal your case based on this recent decision.
If you are currently facing criminal charges and you believe evidence being used against you was pulled from your cell phone without a warrant, please schedule an appointment with Solana Beach criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss to discuss how this Supreme Court decision can affect your case. Call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Creative Commons Image by MIKI Yoshihito