6. January 2011 12:15
Photo by caitra_
The California Supreme Court just held that a cell phone is personal property that can be searched after arrest. Specifically the court was asked to “decide whether the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution permits law enforcement officers, approximately 90 minutes after lawfully arresting a suspect and transporting him to a detention facility, to conduct a warrantless search of the text message folder of a cell phone they take from his person after the arrest.” The court held that the search of the cell phone text message folder was a valid search conducted incident to a lawful custodial arrest. With the proliferation of smart phones, it seems that this ruling potentially opens people up to having their e-mail accounts available for search without a warrant.
Here's the law.com article and it also has a link to the opinion: http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=1202476909376