4th Amendment Case Study

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Cell phones and other mobile devices have quickly entered the mass market and are available to most people around the world. These devices are so prevalent that it is now considered rare to make an arrest without encountering them as some form of evidence, primarily because of the amount of data that they contain. The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution includes the right of citizens to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant issued upon probable cause, but whether or not such searches and seizures of the digital content contained in these devices is included in this fundamental protection is an issue that has been under much scrutiny over the past few decades. In order to decide whether it is, …show more content…

Several items were seized and later used to convict Chimel, and Chimel claimed this to be an infringement of his 4th amendment protection against an unreasonable search and seizure. When the case of Chimel v California eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, the Court held that the search was, in fact, unreasonable since the entire search of the home was not “within immediate control” of the arrestee, and that a search warrant must be obtained to search any space that is not within that area (i). The Chimel decision is crucial to the concept of cell phone privacy as it concluded that if a cellular device were to be placed in an area within that immediate control of the suspect, and incident to arrest, that device could legally be searched and seized and would be admissible in court as evidence against the …show more content…

In the Robinson case, the Court decided that the 4th amendment includes the full warrantless search of a person and his or her property, within immediate control, at the time of arrest, but without any identifiable danger to police. With this specific decision, the Court places more power on the government as it allows them to obtain such evidence without needing to justify such searches. Similarly, in New York v Belton, the Court concluded that when an individual is subject to a lawful custodial arrest, police are constitutionally permitted to a warrantless search of the passenger compartment of that person’s vehicle if it was in immediate control at the time of arrest (ii). Belton expands the Chimel rule to apply to vehicles by clarifying that an individual has a lesser expectation of privacy of their automobile when they are lawfully

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