CRMIINAL DEFENSE & CIVIL LITIGATION law firm in Pasadena

CA Governor Vetoes Bill Barring Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have prevented law enforcement officers from conducting warrantless searches of cell phones of those under arrest.

The bill, SB 914, had been sent to the Governor’s desk after being passed by the California legislature. The bill would have overturned a decision of the California Supreme Court in connection with a cell phone search. That decision involved a man who was arrested in 2007. During his arrest, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department officer checked his cell phone text messages, and found incriminating information. The Supreme Court ruled that police in California can search cell phones of a person under arrest without a warrant.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is not limited to text messages, but includes other information stored on a cellphone such as Internet browsing history, photographs, contacts, voicemail messages, chat logs and other data. The bill, which had been widely supported by privacy groups and Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers, would have prevented such warrantless searches of a person’s cell phone and other devices upon arrest.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys believe that the Governor’s decision to veto the bill will lead to an increase in the number of law enforcement officers choosing to rummage through a person’s cell phone to find incriminating evidence.

Privacy experts recommend using a password or encryption to lock access to the data on one’s cell phone, making it more difficult for police to browse one’s personal information without review by a judge.

 

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The Pasadena, CA law firm of Khalaf & Khalaf serves clients in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, & Orange County; and the citites of Torrance, San Fernando, Alhambra, Bellflower, Victorville, Long Beach, Burbank, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Glendale, South Pasadena, Alta Dena, Santa Clarita and throughout Southern California.