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Local Law Enforcement Reacts To Smartphone Warrant Ruling

Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014, 05:48 PM CDT

You probably consider the contents of your cell phone to be personal, and now you have the backing of the most powerful court in the country. The United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday law enforcement must get a warrant before searching a suspect’s phone.

But the ruling does raise some questions about how it'll affect law enforcement investigations.

Austin Police Department Detective Charles Riley says APD already applies for a warrant before searching smartphones.

"The reason we do that is because if there is probable cause to believe there is evidence on a device than we should just go ahead and get a search warrant, it gets the sign off from the judge," Riley said.

Round Rock Police Department Sergeant John Rowe says his department usually does the same, but admits requiring a search warrant has the potential to inhibit an investigation.

"There are apps on there that you can Geo-fence that means if you take it out of a certain area it'll delete the data, you can remotely delete data, you can encrypt data so there is a little bit of urgency to it," Rowe said.

But the ruling is now set in stone, and law enforcement tends to support it.

"I think it's good for the citizens and it's good for the police officer because again you're taking your probable cause to a judge and a judge is saying yes or no to that search," Rowe said.

The ruling does allow for some exceptions. Police are not required to get a warrant if there is an immediate danger and it is a life or death situation.

By Rachel Kent

Local Law Enforcement Reacts To Smartphone Warrant Ruling


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