Prof. Levenson discusses Supreme Court case limiting police cell phone searches

Professor Laurie Levenson discussed on KPCC-FM's Take Two the opinion in Riley v. California, in which the Supreme Court limited the ability of police officers to search cell phones without a warrant. 

Primary points:

  • Major decision on technology and the 4th Amendment;
  • In the end, it was a balancing test: privacy vs. Need by law enforcement;
  • Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a unanimous decision: Get a warrant if you want to search a cell phone obtained incident to arrest.  However, if there is evidence that the phone will be remotely erased, the officers can use the exigent circumstances exception.