After Ruling, Police Will Ask Consent to Search Phones


The Supreme Court decision making it harder for the police to search cellphones without a warrant could change procedures around the country, police officials and legal experts told the New York Times. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the message for police in most cases is simple: “Get a warrant.” That could hinder law enforcement, said Yousry Zakhary, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “I wish it was just as simple as 'get a warrant' ” to comply with the law, he said. “It takes time — and key evidence could be lost.”

His organization filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, asking that the authority to search cellphones after an arrest be preserved. Zakhary, the police chief of Woodway, Tex., a town near Waco, said Wednesday's decision was disappointing. But it will not mean the end of cellphone searches, said Mark Eckenwiler, a former deputy chief of the Justice Department's computer crime section. He said the opinion allows searches when the owner of the phone gives consent, and that “police will now, as a routine matter, ask for consent.”

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