MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 2, 2014

Keep cellphones off limits

United States Supreme Court justices must forbid police from searching cellphones without a warrant — despite precedent allowing cellphones to be treated as wallets.

Law enforcement officers, for decades, legally have seized and searched wallets upon arrest.

The high court is faced with deciding whether the practice should continue to be extended to the search and seizure of cellphones.

Law enforcement can argue that a cellphone is just a very fancy wallet — both could contain information pertinent to criminal activity. A cellphone is kept much like a wallet — on your person and easily discovered during a pat-down search.

It is difficult for law to evolve as quickly as technology.

To say a cellphone is the same thing as a wallet because it contains information and can be found easily on your person is to deny the ocean of technology separating a wallet and a cellphone.

Cellphones contain vastly more information than your wallet.

Cellphones hold information that, in the past, you had to keep inside your home.

Law enforcement could use the ability to search your cellphone to find evidence to use against you in court.

That’s why the U.S. Supreme Court should allow the law to catch up with technology.

Citizens are supposed to protected from unlawful search and seizure by requiring law enforcers to obtain a judge’s permission through a warrant.

Why can’t that protection be carried over to cellphones?

Police can seize the phone during an arrest to ensure the suspect does not erase evidence, but should place it in an evidence bag and seek a search warrant.

If probable cause exists to search the cellphone, a judge will agree and issue a warrant.

If a case is strong enough, a judge will agree.

If the cellphone is an integral part of a criminal enterprise, then having law enforcement seize the phone should be considered prudent.

But that’s where they should stop.

They should not be able to search the phone because evidence is not in plain sight. It is behind a virtual door — like the door to your home.

Law enforcement must be able to convince a judge that searching your cellphone is justified by probable cause.

1
Text Only
Opinion
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks