Routine traffic stop goes awry; man gets 180 day jail sentence for not unlocking his iPhones



What started as a routine traffic stop landed William Montanez in jail over his refusal to unlock a pair of Apple iPhone handsets. It all started back on June 21st when a cop gave Montanez a ticket for for not properly yielding while pulling out of a driveway. Deputy Kalin Hall, who works with a street group that conducts narcotics investigations, asked the driver if he would consent to having his car searched. When he refused, a drug-sniffing dog was employed and led the police to a small amount of marijuana. It should be noted that an emergency Writ filed by the defendant's attorney claims that the cop, for reasons known only to herself, called for a canine unit before even speaking to Montanez (you can draw your own conclusions).

Besides the drugs, a concealed weapon was found along with two handsets (one was a black iPhone from MetroPCS, and the other was a white/red iPhone 7 according to the search warrant). What piqued the interest of the cops was a text message on one of the devices which read, "OMG did they find it." When the message was found, police immediately asked Montanez for permission to search the two iPhone devices. He refused, and detectives obtained a warrant, which was challenged by his lawyer. In Court, the judge ruled that the cops could unlock the phones without explicit consent. The handsets were produced by the prosecution, which demanded that the defendant unlock them with his passcodes. But Montanez said that the phones were new and that he couldn't remember the codes to unlock them. As a result, the judge tossed him in jail for 180 days (that's half a year, folks) for civil contempt.

Montanez's attorney, Patrick Leduc, wants you to know that the same thing can happen to you. He says that the cops can arrest you for anything, and if they find a phone on your person, they will ask you to unlock it. If you refuse to do so because you have personal information on the device, they will throw you in jail, according to Leduc. Now, we should point out that Montanez is a felon, he did have marijuana in his car (albeit a small amount) and a weapon was discovered (Montanez says the gun belongs to his mom). The police did obtain a lawful warrant to unlock the phones.


Hopefully, none of our readers ever finds themselves in a situation like this. Word to the wise, make sure to yield properly when backing out of a driveway.

source: FOX 13

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39 Comments

39. two_soggy_waffles

Posts: 58; Member since: Aug 10, 2017

but den he's wearing white pants so liek maybe he's like a drug dealer

30. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

OMFG you even side with people who clearly breaks the law, just because they own an iPhone. How pathetic can you be? What if he had been a child molester? A rapist? He f**king broke the law, the end of it.......And who gives a f**k about why she called the k9, apparently her suspicion was correct as he had several reasons why she should do it.....

38. ShadowHammer

Posts: 213; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

Interestingly, in the United States, pretty much every citizen has broken and will break some law on the books. It's very hard not to when there are so many laws, and so many levels of government. And unlike what you are suggesting, all laws are not equal in severity and (perish the thought) there are even some laws that are unconstitutional and shouldn't have been written in the first place. Personally, I don't think someone should be compelled to unlock a phone, warrant or not. And yes, I would say the same thing for child molesters and rapists. Regarding the rest of the stuff regarding this guy, I don't have a strong opinion about it. He sounds shady, but that's for the courts and lawyers to decide.

20. Big_D5

Posts: 40; Member since: Jun 13, 2014

What you need to know is Alan the writer of this story is a political activist not a reporter. The facts are a convicted felon carrying a handgun and marijuana got arrested. After refusing to comply with a search warrant he was thrown in jail. It's that simple. Here are a few points to ponder. There was nothing routine about this traffic stop. If you are a convicted felon clean up your act or don't put things on your phone you don't want the police to know. Point don't be doing bad things and you wont have to worry about anyone going so far as to need a search warrant for your phone. Point the good money is on the judge and the police officer every time.

28. Alan01

Posts: 670; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

If you think I'm a political activist, you don't know what political activism is. Just because I may not share the same views as you doesn't mean that you should make such a statement. Obviously you didn't make it to the end of the article. Just in case there are some big words, you might want to Google them for clarification: "Now, we should point out that Montanez is a felon, he did have marijuana in his car (albeit a small amount) and a weapon was discovered (Montanez says the gun belongs to his mom). The police did obtain a lawful warrant to unlock the phones." Did I say in the story that the guy shouldn't have been thrown in jail? Did I say that the cops were wrong? All I did was point out that according to the defendant's attorney, the dog was called in before the suspect was addressed. If true, that seems a bit strange. You need to stop assuming things and not be so narrow-minded. Regards, Alan

37. Big_D5

Posts: 40; Member since: Jun 13, 2014

Political activists... I know these are big words so let me define it for you. Political activists are people who get involved in the political process for the sake of promoting, impeding or raising awareness about a certain issue or set of issues. I would like for you to explain to me how this "News Story" is not Political activism? And I quote " Hopefully, none of our readers ever finds themselves in a situation like this. Word to the wise, make sure to yield properly when backing out of a driveway."

15. iCloud

Posts: 128; Member since: May 15, 2014

Wow. I believe we are hearing only one side of the story here. That said, what I think is If he is caught with marijuana then they should just ticket him for what he had on him and have a nice day. Just because he had marijuana on him doesn't justify for searching through his phone. Better yet, why not search his house? or a friends house? how about his mom's house? why not, his mom might be hiding marijuana for him too. Assuming is not a cause.

14. salami1980

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Well I think smartphone is private device & No body have the right to access it other than the smartphone owner. Well I believe that in Middle East there is more freedom than USA

13. boriqua2000

Posts: 263; Member since: Mar 11, 2009

Here's a million dollar idea, they should make an app that erases the data on your phone when you enter a certain pass code when unlocking your phone. So if a cop makes you unlock your phone you just enter the erase code.

26. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yeah, drug smuggler and terrorist would love that idea.. Or what about a phone with 2 profiles, use middle-finger on FPscanner to open "work" profile, and index-finger for daily stuff, both profile have separate/cloned apps, accounts and settings. And ring finger on FPscanner for quick-wipe. It should work well with back-side FPscanner.

12. talon95

Posts: 1012; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

It shouldn't be against the law to plead the 5th and not unlock the phone. I thought this exact issue had already been settled and people could not be forced to unlock their intelectual property. The cops may hack it, but they can't compel you to unlock it. I don't mean to defend his felonies, but these rights apply to all people, guilty and innocent.

11. ibap

Posts: 873; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

A slightly different version of the story, adding THC oil (illegal in Florida) and $1200 in cash. https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/12/a-florida-man-arrested-for-pot-is-in-jai

24. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

That 6 months jail time probably much better option for him.

7. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2577; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Honestly 6 months is probably worth it for him, especially if the evidence on those phones could lead to charges of intent to sell. Possession of drugs with the intent to sell I believe carries a 5 year minimum under federal law. So, it was a smart move to act like he doesn't know the passcode. I foresee this possibly being appealed and it has the potential to be a Supreme Court decision, although I doubt it will be this particular case. More than likely there may be a suit brought by a number of people that were asked to unlock their phones and those individuals will try to get it all the way up the system to the S.C. Also, I have to say it probably doesn't look great for him that he didn't have the ability to unlock the phone using his fingerprint. That means he purposely set up his phone to be unlocked using a passcode, otherwise you can be court ordered to present your finger to unlock the phones. It just makes him seem guilty of more than possession.

16. middlehead

Posts: 486; Member since: May 12, 2014

Your last paragraph is awful logic and you need to get your head straight immediately. Choosing not to use a fingerprint unlock is in no way an indicator of guilt. If you're ever selected for a jury, please find some way to get yourself sent home.

19. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2577; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

How is it awful logic? The majority of the population use convenient methods such as fingerprint scanners or face recognition to unlock their phones. Those that choose not to are more than likely doing so because they want to make it harder for someone to get into their phones than those who choose the convenient methods. If you are someone who is trying to make it harder for someone to access your device, then you would be seen as a suspicious character in the eyes of the law. I never said he was guilty or that I thought he was. I, instead, said that it makes him "seem guilty". Why else would he have two phones that conveniently cannot be unlocked using a fingerprint scanner? You could say that, yes, he is someone who values his privacy and security. But, considering it was also someone who was just caught in possession of illicit drugs, my mind would tend to think that is someone who has incriminating evidence on their phone. Again, not saying it would be right or wrong of police to get into your phone, but I think if you're someone who honestly believes that person doesn't have something they want to hide on that phone then you're naive. And again, I'm not personally suggesting what his guilt is. I am just suggesting that he makes himself look guilty.

32. lyndon420

Posts: 6942; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Just because I prefer to use a password / passcode rather than sacrifice my biometric data it doesn't make me guilty of anything. I also prefer to use cash...wait...maybe I really am a threat to society lol.

6. MartyK

Posts: 1045; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Wow... I would've inform them, "it's not my phone,I brought it for someone else". This is insane..

1. vandroid

Posts: 406; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

She had no probable cause to call for the k9 before speaking to the man. Profiling can be used in his favor in court

2. JocularJ

Posts: 222; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

Unless she argues that his car or a car similar is known for drug related crimes. And besides are you on the side of the guy that was admittedly caught breaking the law?

5. vandroid

Posts: 406; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

I'm not on th guys side but I'm against cops and profiling which is exactly what this is. The guy should've walked away with a ticket and that's all.

23. Awalker

Posts: 1988; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I'm siding with the guy who broke the law because it's a ridiculous law. No one should be going to jail for marijuana.

34. ZombieHunter

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Drug addicts stick together. Nice

3. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

The man was spoken to first and he refused, then the dog was brought in.

4. vandroid

Posts: 406; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

"the defendant's attorney claims that the cop, for reasons known only to herself, called for a canine unit before even speaking to Montanez (you can draw your own conclusions)."

8. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Well doesn't matter witch way it happened and apparently it doesn't work that way because he lost and is now in jail for breaking the law.

10. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3201; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

That doesn't make it right. Until 155 years ago you could legally own slaves. Until 45 years ago you couldn't get an abortion if he forgot to pull out. People need to seriously wake the f**k up.

17. rouyal

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Trump is the POTUS. 2 SCOTUS appointments that sway the court back away from radical liberalism for a generation. If Sleeping Ginsburg can't keep bitterly clinging, it will be 3 appointments. The Dems are in disarray, and fading into irrelevance, losing voters everyday. They have no platforms besides those of skin color and sex organs. No blue wave in the fall. Oh, and "orange man bad". MAGA 2020.

18. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Jesus Christ, you Trump idiots never stop, do you? Have you read the news as of late? Trump is a laughing stock almost everywhere. The only place he isn’t is Russia... ironically.

21. rouyal

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

You got one thing right...we never stop. Taking back the majority of each branch, electing Trump, and the Supreme Court are just the beginning. The only place he’s a laughing stock is in the gullible minds of liberals. The real laughing stock is your very own pajama wearing soyboy Trudeau with his fake eyebrows falling off and making a joke of himself and Canada in his visit to India

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