Supreme Court rules officers must have a warrant to search cell phones

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that police officers in the United States must have a search warrant to look through your phone.

Detective Jeremy Hembree with the Aiken Department of Public Safety said they seize a lot of cell phones, but without a search warrant, he said officers in their department don't touch them.

"If we come across a cell phone, we secure a search warrant indicating to the judge why we need it," Detective Hembree said.

Detective Hembree said there is no way to know what a cell phone is going to have in it, which leaves a gray area for officers while searching without a warrant.

"We may be looking into it for one thing and then discover something else related to another crime," Detective Hembree said. "At that point, we would have to stop and get a search warrant. Now we know, hey, you have to have a search warrant and anything we recover at the point can be used as evidence."

People we talked to said they're all for it.

"If you have a warrant, you have a reason for looking through my phone," Meloni Williams said. "But if you're just looking through my phone, no, I am not comfortable with that at all."

Supreme Court Justices said any information on a phone will still be there after a warrant is granted. ADPS said a lot of information on a phone, like texts and phone calls, can be recovered.

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