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View Diary: Obama Admin Petitions Supreme Court To Allow Warrantless Cell Phone Searches (302 comments)

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  •  Interesting case. I'd argue the that administrato (12+ / 0-)

    is wrong on this case.  Just seeing on a cell phone that a call is from "My House" is not enough to warrant following up on that without a warrant.

    However, if the cop had noticed a text message on the phone that said, "Update: looks like we're going to pocket about 10 grand for 1000 kilos" or something like that, then I'd argue that the cops would be able to immediately follow up on it.  That's the "item in plain sight" theory, where if a cop sees incriminating evidence in plain sight, then he need not a warrant to investigate it.  

    (Now watch, someone on this site is going to bash me for "Making up hypotheticals in order to defend the indefensible." hehe)

    Interesting that the WA Post says that the courts have been "split" regarding this issue, generally, so it will be nice for SCOTUS to resolve it.

    I'll get bashed for this, but I'm going to say it anyway, but please be gentle, since I already said above that I think the administration is on the wrong side on this case. ;)
    In this case the cops followed their instincts.  They had a hunch that something was going down, followed up on something as mundane as "Oh look, a call from 'My House' is on the phone", and were proven correct.  I think it's pretty effective police work, but unfortunately also sloppy police work in that they didn't cross the t's and dot the i's.  Should've obtained a warrant first (I can't tell from the article how 'urgent' the case was; maybe they thought that by the time they got a warrant, the trail would be cold; it doesn't sound that way to me, but the article doesn't give much detail about the case itself).

    OK, I'm done, I've already gone far enough down the heretic path on this, and these days it seems that even one iota of separation from the "correct" position is grounds for rather harsh rhetoric.  :)

    •  I think your thoughts are valid. (12+ / 0-)

      Here's the thing:  The War on Drugs has resulted in many many exceptions to our rights as specified.  

      The concept that "getting the drugs" is an emergency which justifies armored cars, heavily armed police assault teams, and brutality to those being searched has become accepted.

      It should not be accepted. The drugs are no "emergency" justifying abrogation of our rights.  If anything, drugs should be treated as a medical issue and police enforcement scaled back sharply.

      The WOD has to come to an end. It has cost hundreds of billions and been spectacularly unacceptable.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:51:34 AM PDT

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    •  I'd say (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heavy Mettle, elwior, TheLizardKing

      This is a pretty good start of the legal analysis.  

      I like your couching this as asking about the extent of plain sight searches.  

    •  Seems like (4+ / 0-)

      in this story they watched the guy sell cocaine out of his car, so they arrested him and searched his car.

      I suppose they could have sat there waiting for someone to run to a judge to get a warrant.

      But they don't need a warrant to search your car if you're selling drugs out of your car.  It's probable cause.

      Whatever is in your car can then be searched.  If they can take your address book, why not your phone?  

      The phone being the equivalent of an address book with your contacts in it.

      Establish a new law for a new age.  

      It's not so outrageous that the government would want to do this.

      Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

      by delphine on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:53:51 AM PDT

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      •  It's not outrageous government... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heavy Mettle, milkbone, Tony Situ

        would want to do it. The question is whether it's an ok thing to do. Without being on either side it is an issue that the courts need to hash out. I just hope it's a public court.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by ricklewsive on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:05:09 AM PDT

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      •  Um, no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heavy Mettle

        Probable cause is what you need to get a warrant from a judge, not an exception to the warrant requirement.

        There are several exceptions to the general requirement that police need a warrant to search. "Search incident to arrest" is one such exception, and defining the parameters of that exception is what this case is about.

        •  Um, no (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heavy Mettle
          In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which an officer or agent of the law has the grounds to obtain a warrant for, or as an exception to the warrant requirements for, making an arrest or conducting a personal or property search, etc. when criminal charges are being considered. It is also used to refer to the standard to which a grand jury believes that a crime has been committed. This term comes from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution
          So the term is used correctly here.  They had probable cause as an exception to warrant requirements. . .

          Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

          by delphine on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:57:24 PM PDT

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    •  since he was arrested (6+ / 0-)

      i think his phone is free game.  i don't think that entitles them to rifle through the house without a warrant, though.

      interesting case, indeed.

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:00:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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