Ohio Supreme Court rules warrant needed before cops can search cellphones

Ohio Supreme Court rules warrant needed before cops can search cellphones
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, the police cannot grab your cellphone and go through it, looking for evidence. No other State Supreme Court has ever ruled on whether cellphones fall under the Fourth Amendment to the constitution that protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Federal Supreme Court also has never taken up the issue. The 4-3 ruling reverses the 2nd District Court of Appeals and presents Antwaun Smith with a legal victory after being arrested on drug-related charges. Mr. Smith had responded to a call on his cellphone made by a crack dealer who was a police informant.

Smith's phone was grabbed by police when he was placed into a cruiser and incriminating pictures were found along with proof of calls between Smith and the crack dealer. He was charged with possession of cocaine, selling cocaine, tampering with evidence and two counts of possessing criminal tools. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He subsequently appealed, but the trial court action was affirmed. The State Supreme Court decision ruled that the lower courts did not take into account the new technologies of the modern cellphone. Justice Judith Lanzinger, writing for the majority, said that a person has a high expectation of privacy over the personal data that can be stored in today's cellphone. In  the dissenting opinion, Judge Robert Cupp said that the majority was "needlessly theorizing" about the capabilities of today's mobile phones rather thanfollowing similar decisions that found police officers can searchclosed containers without a warrant.

source: TheRegister

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6 Comments

3. dandirk unregistered

WOW I am surprised they need a ruling on that, but good. I don't think they can search your laptop if you happen to have it with you, so why should they be able to search your phone? Heck the cops are supposed to only be able to "pat" you down for weapons without your permission/warrant. They of course can search after an arrest (which is kinda lame... you're arrested so we can search. OPPS didn't find anything, you can go home now)

6. YouLostTheGame

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

True story!

2. vzw fanman

Posts: 1977; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

i can't imagine what would be on a cell phone worth persuing maybe threatneding texts or child porn?

1. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

A lot of Pros... And some Cons. The average person doesn't have law-breaking info on their phones in the first place (or maybe I'm wrong...), so if you are a criminal, and law inforcement needed info from your phone, you'd have more than enough time to delete your info before a warrant was issued. This does protect your rights and privacy though. I think a Win Overall.

4. jrg11

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 12, 2009

Score one for the bad guys

5. YouLostTheGame

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

WRONG! Score one for the people in Ohio, and hopefully for all of us in every state! 'Scuse me, while I trample the rest of YOUR freedoms!

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