United States v. Wurie

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: January 17, 2014
  • Case #: 13-212
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 728 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2013)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Fourth Amendment permits the warrantless search of an arrestee's cell phone.

Police arrested Respondent for drug distribution. At the police station, an officer collected respondent’s personal belongings, including two cell phones. The police proceeded to look through Respondent’s call log. Through the search of the phone, the officers discovered Respondent’s home address. After obtaining a warrant the officers searched Respondent’s home and found more drugs.

Respondent moved to suppress the evidence seized during the warrantless search of the cell phone. The district court denied the motion. On appeal, the Circuit Court vacated the conviction, reversed, remanded and held that the search incident to arrest exception does not authorize the warrantless search of an arrestee’s cell phone. However, the court held that some exigent circumstances exist where it is necessary for an officer to search an arrestee's cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. No exigent circumstances existed in the instant case.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the Fourth Amendment permits the warrantless search of an arrestee's cell phone.

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