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

Posted: , by Alan Friedman Alan Friedman

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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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