David registration tags. Due to his license being suspended.

 

            David Leon Riley belonged to the
Lincoln Park gang of San Diego, California. On August 2, 2009, he and his gang
started opening fire on a rivaling gang. The shooters then got into Riley’s car
and drove away. On August 22, 2009, the Police pulled Riley over driving a
different car. His car had an expired license registration tags. Due to his
license being suspended. The police had the car impounded. Before a car is
impounded, police are required to perform an inventory search to confirm that
the vehicle has all its components at the time of seizure, to protect against
liability claims in the future, and to discover hidden contraband. While search
the vehicle, police located two guns and subsequently arrested Riley for
possession of the firearms. Riley had his cell phone in his pocket when he was
arrested, so a gang unit detective analyzed files on his phone. Seeing that
Riley was making gang signs and other gang related activity. Riley was subsequently
tied to the shooting on August 2 via ballistics tests, and separate charges
were brought to include shooting at an occupied vehicle, attempted murder, and
assault with a semi-auto firearm. Riley was convicted and the California Court
of appeal affirmed the judgement. The case was granted a certiorari and was
going to be heard by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts was also
going to be involved. They ruled that searching the contents of a cell phone without
a warrant is unconstitutional.

            This case related back to Chimel v. California
(1969). In this case, the court ruled that if the police arrest someone, they
have the right to search the body of the person without a warrant in “the area
into which he might reach” in order to protect physical evidence and for the
safety of the officers. This was all good until cell phones came into play.

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Courts were unsure about what to do with cases when it came to the digital
contents search for an arrest. Lower courts were indifferent on whether or not
the 4th amendment permitted offices to search the contents of a cell
phone without a warrant. Cell phones were becoming very powerful and held
important information. It was time for an in-depth review and a serious decision.  Riley moved to suppress the evidence that
police obtained from his cell phone, but the motion was denied. However, the
California Supreme Court used a case called People v. Diaz as a precedent that
granted the approval of a warrantless search of cell phone data incident to
arrest.

            Of course, the main issue in the
case was whether or not the government may conduct a warrantless search on a
cell phone after the arrest. The police officer has to think safety first to
protect himself. He must search the pockets and bags of the person whom they
arrest without the warrant. Cell phones have so much personal information and
don’t have a threat as a weapon. Cell phones having all this information was
basically like having hard evidence right in front of them. The law officials
were afraid they could lose this information by wiping it or a data encryption
when the phone is locked.  They decided
it was justifiable and necessary to explore and obtain this information on the
spot.

            The United States Supreme Court
decided that the government must obtain a warrant before conducting a search of
contents on a cell phone in a arrest. It would violate the Fourth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. Chief Justice John Roberts reached the
conclusion by noting “digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used
as a weapon to harm an officer.” And the officers are only conducting this
search for safety in the first place. However, the arresting officers are
allowed to examine the physical aspects of the phone but once there are no
threats to safety there is nothing else they can do.  Roberts made an argument that cell phones
differ from any other objects as it contains one’s whole life and personal
information. Our founding fathers fought to protect our personal life and
privacy.

            This is a case that hit hard in
terms to the 4th amendment and a person’s private information. It
was concluded that the arresting officers did draw the line when searching the
phone on the spot. It was unconstitutional and a violation of a person’s
privacy. This issue needed to be resolved. There are great arguments for both
sides and a lot of courts were indifferent on the subject. Some thought that
when someone is being arrested for a crime that the arresting officers has all
the rights to search any information he possibly can on the person as it could
help a lot with the arrest. On the other side Chief Justice John Roberts knew
that there was a line to be drawn when it came to search physical evidence and
someone’s whole life on a cell phone. I agree with Chief Justice John Roberts
on this notion. A lot of people have their whole entire life information stored
on their cell phones. Ranging from locations, contacts, interests, messages,
photos and many other things. I think a cell phone goes right in with the 4th
amendment and should be treated the same as houses, papers and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures. Phones are basically hand-held computers
and contain all the safe information of one. I think it is morally right to get
the warrant and do the search before simply invading someone’s privacy on spot
like that. Very rarely will someone get all the data wiped before you can get a
warrant. 

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