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Court: No Warrant Necessary for Searching Arrestees' Cell Phones

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

January 4, 2011

In a 5-2 decision on Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that police can search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Based on 1970s-era U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the justices deemed that defendants lose certain privacy rights when taken into custody, the report states. But dissenting justices said that decades-old rulings should not be applied to data-heavy cell phones. The ruling lets police "rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar said in dissent.
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