Riley’s best line

by Walter Olson on June 28, 2014

“The United States asserts that a search of all data stored on a cell phone is ‘materially indistinguishable’ from searches of [a wallet or purse] … That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon. Both are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together.” — Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the Court in Riley v. California, in which the Justices unanimously disallowed warrantless police searches of arrestees’ cell phones.

{ 2 comments }

1 Andrew_M_Garland 06.29.14 at 12:55 am

The suspect might have a picture of a gun in his cellphone. This could pose an imediate psychological threat to the policeman, and would interfere in a proper interrogation and arrest. It would provide valuable clues to the suspects mental state and the possible need to use handcuffs.
(sarc)

2 No Name Guy 06.30.14 at 11:07 am

I thought the whole idea of these warrantless searches of someone being arrested was for “Officer Safety” – to make sure the arrestee didn’t have a concealed knife, etc on their person or a razor blade in their wallet or purse. How can searching a cell phone have anything to do with the safety of an officer? Kind of hard to conceal a knife or razor blade in the electrons of the phone’s memory. It didn’t pass the smell test – score one for the Citizenry.

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