No Warrant Necessary for Text Message Search

By Teresa Anderson


The California Supreme Court ruled that police did not need a warrant to access the messages. The court determined that the cell phone was an item of personal property and that Diaz had that property in his possession when he was arrested. Police do not need a warrant to confiscate personal property carried by a suspect at the time of arrest. The court ruled that the nature of the item being confiscated is not relevant.

(For more on text messages and the expectation of privacy, read "Supreme Court Rules Against Officers in Privacy Case.")

Judge Kathryn Werdegar issued a dissenting opinion in case, arguing that current law should be reevaluated because it does not take the nature of electronic devices into consideration. In her opinion, Werdegar noted that “the potential impairment to privacy if arrestees’ mobile phones and handheld computers are treated like clothing or cigarette packages, fully searchable without probably cause or a warrant, is correspondingly great.”

♦ Photo by Nika/Flickr

People v Diaz.pdf199.17 KB


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