Do Police Officers need a warrant to search your cell phone?

Published 04/29 2014 04:41PM

Updated 04/29 2014 09:11PM

Evansville - Do Police Officers need a warrant to search your cell phone? It's a question now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
After a series of hearings the Supreme Court will decide if your cell phone is fair game without a warrant.

"Normally, I have a lock on my phone. I feel like if your gonna go past that point you need to have a warrant" said Brian Jones.

Jones weighs in on searches of mobile phones. That argument has made it all the way to the highest court.

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann says, "It's gonna be a fascinating case. The reason I think it will fascinating is because cell phones used to dial in and dial out. There really wasn't any information, maybe some contacts and those types of things. Smart phones being what they are have alot more capabilities".

Alot more information that some people want to keep private.  Sarah Vaughn says a cell phone is like a 'digital residence'.
Currently, the Fourth Amendment protects people from unlawful search and seizure.

"Only if it was necessary. I don't think they should have access without a warrant. That's an invasion of privacy", says Sarah Vaughn.

"I don't know if this is like a new thing they're gonna come up with? cause I'm gonna protest" adds, Hamzeh Khyarh.

Prosecutor Nick Hermann says, "the question before the supreme court is whether or not they're gonna require law enforcement to get a search warrant before they can go through and search someone's phone".

Vanderburgh County tells us they use caution and warrants are always requested for cell phones prior to any search. What investigators find in those phone can be used as evidence in some cases.

"It has proven cases. It has proven where people are. It's proven obviously their communications. We can always subpoena your phone records and those types of things. But, the information now that's being collected on these phones can be invaluable"  Hermann added.

It will be up to the Supreme Court to rule on how that information is obtained.

"I feel like that's a slippery slope to cross and once you kind of go through messages and different contacts; they could get alot more information than I feel like they need to get" says Jones.

Hermann says it's an important discussion to have.

"The law is always gonna lag behind. You're always gonna have to have the technology before you can have these arguments. It [the law] kind of lags behind in that regard".

A ruling is not expected until June. 

Report by Fadia Patterson

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