Court OKs Warrantless Cell Phone Search In California

Ruling allows police access to private text messages

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled that police do not need a warrant to search a cell phone carried by someone under arrest.

The justices ruled Monday that a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy had the right to conduct a warrantless search of the text messages of a man he had arrested on suspicion of participating in a drug deal.

The state court ruled 5-2 that federal precedent affirms that police can search items found on defendants when they are arrested.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that police did not have that right.

California Deputy Attorney General Victoria Wilson told the San Francisco Chronicle that the split between the two states could lead the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue.

Read the full text of the court’s decision here.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Yoshi Nara

    okay everyone, protect your rights. Put a password on your cell phone. The government will continue to usurp our individual rights and freedoms. If you can’t beat the system, you must play by their rules.

    • Vi Deo

      That is what Ive been telling people

  • Richard in Castaic

    I’m becoming less and less enamored with my cell phone.

  • steve p

    more control

  • SFJD

    This is definitely a strange ruling, considering the fact that you can access virtually everything that can be known about a person through their cellphone these days.

    Oh, and if the phone is locked with a password, can the officer compel you to disclose it?

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