Cell Phone Searches: Implications for Educators from Riley v. California

New insight about the issues associated with authorities searching the contents of cell phones has been provided by the U.S. Supreme Court. While this particular ruling deals specifically with the question of whether law enforcement officers can search the contents of cell phones possessed by people who are under arrest, educators can certainly learn from it as well. In the opinion released yesterday, the Court analyzed two separate incidents (one in California [Riley v. California] and another in Massachusetts [U.S. v. Wurie]) where officers searched—without a warrant—the cell phones of individuals they had arrested. In both cases the phones revealed incriminating evidence that was used at trial, and both defendants were convicted. The Skinny on Search and Seizure As a very rough and brief primer on basic criminal procedure law (don’t take this as legal advice!), the police are allowed to search the contents of, for example, a (read more…)

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