LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A unanimous Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that generally prohibits police from searching the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants is unlikely to hinder future LAPD investigations, a police spokesman said.
In a decision (PDF) written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said cellphones are powerful devices unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest. Because the phones contain so much information, police must get a warrant before looking through them, Roberts said.
“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Roberts said.
The court chose not to extend earlier rulings that allow police to empty a suspect’s pockets and examine whatever they find to ensure officers’ safety and prevent the destruction of evidence.
Despite the high court’s decision, KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports LAPD officers said they don’t expect the ruling to hinder their ability to collect data on a smartphone for evidence, but it could lead to some changes.