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Politics

Florida court: Cell phone searches require warrant

Published:   |   Updated: May 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a warrantless police search of an arrested person's mobile phone is unconstitutional.

The court ruled 7-2 today in a case out of Jacksonville.

The majority opinion said law enforcement officers rightly took the defendant's cell phone while he was being physically searched. But “a warrant was required before the information, data, and content of the cell phone could be accessed and searched.”

The dissenting justices noted that four federal appeals courts have ruled that searching a cell phone found on someone arrested is “within the proper scope of a search incident to arrest.”

The case is Smallwood v. Florida, No. SC11-1130.

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