Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Court OKs Warrantless Cell Phone Search, Auto Inventory Search

US v. Murphy: Murphy was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. The evidence against him consisted largely of items found following a traffic stop of a car in which Murphy (and two others) were riding. Murphy sought to have two pieces of evidence suppressed - information taken from his cell phone and more than $14,000 in cash recovered from a bag in the car's trunk. The district court denied Murphy's motion to suppress.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court and Murphy's conviction. As for the cell phone, the court first concluded that it was lawfully seized from Murphy during a search incident to a lawful arrest. Second, the court concluded that due to the potential loss of information from the cell phone, its contents could be viewed by the officers without waiting for a warrant to be obtained to search its contents. As for the currency, the court rejected Murphy's argument that the search of the vehicle was not a proper inventory stop.


Anonymous said...

I won a supression hearing on a cellphone search, but it had nothing to due with drugs. A traffic stop and the police got a bit carried away with their search.

Anonymous said...

The "chance" that evidence will get destroyed should not factor in to any decision. Constitutional rights are constituional rights-cellphones are wireless phones and are subject to ALL FEDERAL phone regulations-including the requiremnt of a warrant- period. C

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