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More on the Supreme Court's cellphone case- What does it mean?

On behalf of Kenneth Krebs of Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs posted in Criminal Defense on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

The Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, has been busy lately. From the Hobby Lobby case to cellphone issues, the justices have been addressing a wide range of legal matters in the last few weeks. When it comes to those facing criminal charges, the holding issued by SCOTUS in the cellphone case could have a major impact.

The case focused on the question of whether or not police could search a cellphone after arresting someone suspected of committing a crime. Enforcement officers, it was argued, may be able to use information held on the phone to protect themselves. After all, the suspect could have sent his or her friends a text to come to the rescue. Having this information could allow the police to prepare for a potential ambush.

Since such incidents were rarely heard of, the justices dismissed this argument relatively quickly. They also gave little weight to a second argument: that if information was not gathered immediately, evidence held within the cellphone could be destroyed remotely. Again, very few cases have ever had this problem. In addition to disagreeing with these arguments, SCOTUS also noted the relative ease of getting a warrant. Technological advances allow officers to make a call and get the legal approval to move forward with a search through issuance of a warrant with relative ease.

Ultimately, SCOTUS decided that in most cases policy must get a warrant to search one's cellphone. As a result, enforcement officers that do not follow proper protocol when it comes to searching a cellphone could lose any evidence they gather. This evidence would not be allowed in court, potentially leading to a dismissal of charges.

This is just one of the areas of a case a criminal defense lawyer will review. If you are facing criminal charges, contact an attorney to review your case and help build a strong defense.

Source: SCOTUS blog, " Get a warrant! Today's cellphone privacy decision in Plain English," Amy Howe, June 25, 2014