Florida top court rules warrantless cell phone searches unconstitutional Jaclyn Belczyk at 3:24 PM ET
[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that police need a warrant to search a defendant's cell phone at the time of arrest. The court ruled 5-2 that officers were permitted to confiscate the defendant's cell phone, but that they should have obtained a warrant before looking at pictures on the phone. Justice Lewis wrote for the majority, "[w]e refuse to authorize government intrusion into the most private and personal details of an arrestee’s life without a search warrant simply because the cellular phone device which stores that information is small enough to be carried on one’s person." The ruling overturns the decision of the 1st District Court of Appeal, which found the search of the phone to be legal.
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