Cali. Gov. Brown to allow police to search phones without a warrant


Governor Brown

Despite heavy support from both parties and an outcry of the people, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill passed by state legislature that would have banned searches of smartphones by police without a warrant.

The ban would have prevented police officers from searching smartphones during an arrest. Many smartphones have persistent logins to personal communication services such as email and Facebook, keep track of locations the phone has been, and give access to personal contacts. This stays in line with a California Supreme Court decision that was upheld by the US Supreme Court last week allowing warrantless searches of people during police incidents.

The bill unanimously passed the Assembly 70-0 and passed the Senate 32-4.

It could not pass Brown.

“The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections,” Brown said.

Several police unions who opposed the bill have donated a total of over $160,000 to Brown’s campaign.

  1. Just as a note, if the Supreme Court denies certiorari, the case was not “upheld.” “Upheld” implies decided on the merits, while a denial of cert is a refusal to hear, which should not be read as saying anything about the merits.

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