Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Police will need a warrant to search cellphones.

The Supreme Court has told police they need to get a warrant before they start snooping in cellphones. The decision was unanimous and should curtail police invasions of privacy that have become all too frequent.

The Supreme Court has ruled police will need a warrant before they go searching cellphones without probable cause.

The Supreme Court has ruled police will need a warrant before they go searching cellphones without probable cause.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Supreme Court, warrent, cell phones, searches, warrant


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Police across the United States have faced growing criticism and public backlash over their tactics which are seen as increasingly militant and excessive. Among those tactics is the routine search of a person's cell phone records during a detention. Critics have accused the police of fishing for clues in situations where they have no business.

Today, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed, ruling that police will need a warrant, at least in most cases, before searching a cellphone or smartphone.

Pray for our nation!

The justices ruled on two cases, one from California and one from Massachusetts.

Police claim they need to be able to quickly search cellphones for evidence that could provide clues in cases where time could be of the essence. However, the justices acknowledged this fact and still ruled in favor of privacy. "We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime," Chief Justice John Roberts explained. "Privacy comes at a cost."

The two cases involved searches of cellphones in California and Massachusetts which had already been tossed out by lower courts, but were brought before the Supreme Court on appeal. The judges explained that because smartphones contain so much personal information, a warrantless search could breach privacy rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

The court did say that police could still search phones in "exigent circumstances." However, broad sweeps of data and warrantless searches of cell phones cannot take place without a warrant.

The Constitution has long been interpreted to say that police can search an individual and their property, but only for those things specified in a warrant. For example, if a person is thought to be hiding a physical object and the warrant authorizes a search or it, then police can search anyplace that object may be. However, they cannot search in places where it cannot be, because that amounts to fishing for evidence.

Police can still make an arrest and charge defendants with other crimes when evidence of additional crimes is obvious, but they cannot go searching without a warrant or probable cause.

Today's ruling comes amid previous rulings that permit authorities to take DNA swabs from arrested individuals and add their DNA to a database for unsolved crimes. It also contrasts with a ruling that police can conduct strip searches of prisoners without probable cause.

However, police need a warrant to attach a GPS device to a person's car or to bring a drug sniffing dog to a house.

Americans are becoming increasingly sensitive about their privacy, as many realize that their most intimate personal information is being aggregated, monitored and monetized by third parties. Normally it is private industry engaged in this behavior, looking for ways to market to people. Recently, federal and local law enforcement have been revealed to be doing it too, in an effort to hoover up vast quantities of data and reveal potential suspects.

In a free society, a balance must be struck between personal liberty and personal safety. Safety is often cited as a reason to diminish personal privacy. However, Americans have made clear that privacy is of value to them, just as it was to the framers of the Constitution. Nor does the government have an absolute, overriding mandate to guarantee perfect safety either.

To a great degree, personal privacy and safety are individual responsibilities. In a free society a government and its police cannot have permission to take these without good, specific reasons. This is why we have warrants and permit judicial review before police start searching and arresting people.

Justice Roberts is right. Freedom, privacy and liberty have a cost.  So too does safety. Today the court has told police how far they can go to protect safety. Given the increasingly aggressive nature of law enforcement tactics, it's time someone reigned them in.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Supreme Court justice Sotomayor warns about drones encroaching on American way of life Watch

Image of Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that she's particularly troubled by the potential for commercial and government drones to compromise personal privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unmanned surveillance planes called drones pose a threat to the privacy of American citizens, warns Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. Speaking to students at Oklahoma City University's law school, Sotomayor says that frightening changes in technology ... continue reading


Obama says Islamic State 'is not Islamic' - what are they, then? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria, He intends to do so with airstrikes and a minimal military presence on the ground. The president also declared that the Islamic State terrorists "are not Islamic." ... continue reading


Obama vows to attack Islamic State militants 'wherever they exist' Watch

Image of There has been some progress made against the group. After more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in the past month, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have halted the Islamic State advance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has vowed to attack Islamic State militants "wherever they exist." Obama will be sending a limited U.S. military presence of 475 personnel. The president also declared that the United States will act in concert with a broad coalition ... continue reading


Opinion: We Need a Blue Collar Conservative like Rick Santorum in the 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum is not an establishment candidate. He threatens establishment leaders in both major political parties. he has always played the role of the underdog and been counted out by the many self professed experts. That is one of the greatest assets he would bring to the 2016 Presidential campaign. He has the potential to draw voters from across party lines and help to forge a new governing coalition which can resuscitate the American dream and set us on a course to brighter future. I sincerely hope he runs.

By Keith A. Fournier

Rick Santorum is a statesman in an age of salesmen - and women. He is a man with a chest.  I will be watching his movements over the next few months. If he decides to run, and I hope he does, he will bring along with him into his presidential campaign a ... continue reading


Pelosi favors sweeping regulations to save net neutrality and ban Internet 'fast lanes' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an unpopular stand for many Republicans, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she wants to give federal regulators sweeping new powers over Internet access. It's a necessity in order to save net neutrality and protect Internet users, she says. ... continue reading


READY TO STRIKE: President Obama prepared to use airstrikes in Syria Watch

Image of President Obama believes he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president recently.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From admitting that he had no policy in regards to Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama is now ready for some clear decisive action. The president says that he is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria in order to defeat the militant jihadist group ... continue reading


Real cost of Obamacare - 350,000 jobs loss and premium hikes for small businesses Watch

Image of Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, Obamacare has taken a toll on small businesses. According to a new study, there have been millions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. In short - many ... continue reading


More emails 'lost' connected to Lois Lerner case Watch

Image of IRS teacher Lois Lerner, who was placed on leave and has since retired, has emerged as the key figure in congressional investigations.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the most recent development, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS says it has lost emails from five more employees' part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Team Clinton turns on Obama! Foreign policy in new book dismissed as 'feckless' Watch

Image of A scathing new book from a member of Team Clinton takes President Obama to task for an unfocused foreign policy.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The honeymoon appears over between top U.S. Democratic alliances, the Clintons and the Obama administration. A member of the Clinton kitchen cabinet is out with a new book that slams U.S. policy as "muddled, irresolute, and even feckless." Doug Schoen's takes ... continue reading


Is hummus too fatty? First lady Michelle O's diet plan driving kids away from school lunches Watch

Image of As championed by Michelle Obama, the new school diet plan is fraught with loopholes.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

First lady Michelle Obama has rolled up her sleeves and launched a campaign against childhood obesity by devising a diet that eliminate high-fat foods from school lunches . The trouble is, kids find the approved school lunches too bland and are seeking ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter