09/27/2011

Warrantless cell phone searches banned in Calif.

Under a new law, police must obtain a search warrant when there is probable cause to believe an electronic device contains evidence

Amy Gahran
CNN.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — If you get arrested in California for any reason, the photos, e-mails and other personal data on your cell phone are now a bit safer from prying police eyes. A new law now requires law- enforcement officers in that state to obtain a warrant before searching the cell phone of a person placed under arrest.

This law overrides a January ruling by the California Supreme Court. According to California Sen. Mark Leno, who sponsored the legislation, this ruling had "legalized the warrantless search of cell phones during an arrest, regardless of whether the information on the phone is relevant to the arrest or if criminal charges are ever filed."

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