The 4th amendment provides citizens protections from unreasonable searches and seizures from law enforcement. Search and seizure cases are governed by the 4th amendment and case law. The United States Supreme Court has crafted exceptions to the 4th amendment where law enforcement would ordinarily need to get a warrant to conduct a search. One of the exceptions to the warrant requirement falls under vehicle stops. Law enforcement can search a vehicle incident to an individual’s arrest if the individual unsecured by the police and is in reaching distance of the passenger compartment. Disjunctive to the first exception a warrantless search can be conducted if there is reasonable belief that the vehicle would have evidence that related to the arrest.
There have also been exceptions regarding person searches. The Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement in arresting situations are permitted to search an individual to remove any potential weapons that can be used to resist arrest. Person searches have been crafted to cover seizing evidence that can be concealed or destroyed by the arrestee. Searches where law enforcement seize cell phones to prevent destruction are permitted. However the opening and use of those phones is prohibited unless there is a warrant.
a: Seizing Phone prior to arrest
The seizure of the cell phones of Johnny Rahten and Joey Ruhmoan will probably be permitted by the court. It is reasonable for an arresting officer to search an unsecured arrestee and seize any evidence on the arrestee that can be concealed or potentially destroyed. Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 129 S.Ct. 1710 (2009). Cell phones more specifically “smart phones” qualif...
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... turn. Secondly after discovering incriminating information on a text from Ruhmoan’s phone, this will not be permitted since the phone was searched without a warrant.
A court will rule that Rahten and Ruhmoan did not have their 4th amendment rights violated when they seized their phone prior to their arrest. Searching and securing evidence will probably be permitted since the search and seizure occurred prior to their arrest and the evidence was potentially in danger of being destroyed. Forcibly unlocking one of the phones and searching the other at the police station without a warrant will probably be considered a violation of their 4th amendment rights. Searching the car based on a text from a warrantless search will likely be considered a violation of their 4th amendment rights. Evidenced gathered from the cell phone will likely not be permitted.
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