Mobile search without arrestee's search warrant is unconstitutional: Florida Court

Last Updated: Fri, May 03, 2013 11:00 hrs

The Florida Supreme Court has declared that it is illegal to search information on an arrested person's mobile phone without a search warrant.

The judgment came following the convenience store robbery case on Cedric Smallwood robbery in Jacksonville in 2008, the Fox News reports.

Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis has said that in Smalwood's case, the data, content and information on his mobile could be accessed and searched by the law enforcing agencies only after a search warrant is issued.

While Chief Justice Ricky Polston and Justice Charles T. Canady have disagreed to the decision, saying that four federal courts have accepted that searching an arrested person's mobile phone is 'well under the law on search (after an) arrest'.

Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida Howard Simon have, on the contrary justified the decision saying that mobile phones contain information that go far beyond what the police may be investigating and have any interest in, and so there needs to be a proper search warrant before rummaging through phones.

State Senator Joe Negron has confirmed that the decision is in agreement with the constitutional right to privacy, after which two bills (HB 797 and SB 846) have been submitted this legislative session that sought to put into law that cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant.

Smallwood's mobile phone was searched after his arrest that showed pictures of him holding a bundle of cash and one of a handgun with his fiancee, but could only be convicted and sentenced to 65 years imprisonment on charges of robbery and possession of a firearm after reports by a convicted felon as the court ruled out that Smallwood could have used the phone as a weapon. (ANI)

More from Sify: