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Police Can Search Your Cell Phone

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    and thats based on what? why would an officer assume that an innocent person needs to be searched? the only reason to carry out a search is if there is probable cause to do so.
    e.g.

    If someone is arrested with alot of drugs/cash on them, they are arrested under suspicion of possession with intent to supply - so they search their house.

    if someone is arrested in relation to going equipped to bilking, you search their car.

    if Joe bloggs is walking down the street.... officers do not generally take him down and search his house.

    do they though? it has often been argued that judges do not accurately apply the law but rather their opinion of the law, infact in the UK opinion has dropped throught the floor when judged lead juries and often mislead juries, as happened recently in south wales where a man was on trial for manslaughter and the judge told the jury the case for aggrivated manslaughter... thus a killer walked free.
     
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    An officer would not assume an innocent person needs to be searched; the point is that someone an officer perceives to be criminal may in fact be innocent. And in the USA, there is a presumption of innocence; so just because one is arrested does not mean one is criminal.
     
  3. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Devil's advocate time:

    If someone is accused of a crime, but is actually innocent, why would they object to a seach that would in fact help to establish their innocence?
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    If someone has already been arrested, then you can detain him and easily get a search warrant. What is more likely to happen is the police find a suspected drug house, obtain a warrant through a judge, and go in with numerous officers to seize all the drugs/cash at once.

    I see your point, and agree in principle, but your example is not typically the way most drug busts occur.

    I understand the whole "devil's advocate" thing, but it also seems like a rhetorical question - I, for one, have better things to do with my time than spend it clearing my name of false charges.
     
  5. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    For some it's also a matter of principal - a law-abiding citizen in a free society should not be made to feel that they're forever at the mercy of the authorities.

    For example, if you get pulled over for running a stop sign, is it incumbant upon you to submit to a vehicle search if the officer suspects that you may have contraband onboard? Why? What if you're late for work, late for meeting your girlfriend, late getting home, or otherwise just don't want to be delayed?

    Furthermore, there is some merit in the notion that it's in the best interest of innocents not to cooperate with police, because the police by no means have a 100% efficiency rating in prosecuting only guilty persons. You may inadvertantly be assisting them in a wrongful prosecution by cooperating.
     
  6. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Devil's advocate time: Suppose this innocent person has things that are perfectly legal, but would be ashamed for others to know about them? Should this person be subjected to shame and perhaps ridicule for no good reason? And any person can consent to a search if they want to and save the police the trouble of getting a warrant.
     
  7. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    In the UK if someone is arrested, the custody sergeant authorises what ever he feels is best, and the officers are knocking through the door 10 mins later, severly limiting the possibility of drugs being destroyed by others.

    why would you fear false charges? there would have to be a reason why you have been charged.

    there would have to be a reason for an officer to suspect contraband, drugs for example, your person can give away evidence of drug use through speech, demeanor and your eyes, if he smells drugs, youre being searched, if you have a history of drug possession, your car will be searched, if the car has a marker against it for drugs, it will be searched.

    we seriously are not talking about innocent persons here, officers (in the UK anyway) are highly trained and experienced, if they suspect you of doing something, generally they have good reason.

    same situation with a doctor, your file is confidential, except to medical personel, if you go to see a doctor he has full access to your medical history - there could be embaressing things in there.

    the police the same, what ever they find doesnt go any further then the police, chances are you will never see them again - you do not know these people and they do not know you, infact if you or an officer know one another they cannot take part in any activity involving you.

    yes, but you see, most people dont, they like to hinder the police and make the job of the police as difficult as possible - and that is why the police are getting more powers, because the public have always caused problems.
     
  8. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It's not the same situation. A doctor is in a position of trust and you chose your doctor and volunteered to see him/her about a medical condition. The police are not the same; contact with them is most likely involuntary. They would probably joke about the situation they ran into to their buddies at the station all the time; the person could be infamous, and just knowing that could be difficult for some people. Why should they be subjected to it unless necessary?

    That's an interesting point of view; and not one I happen to share.
     
  9. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Remember Shosh, a big part of the reason the US was created is because early American's felt overly opressed by the British Monarchy. It's not surprising that our laws, even after these many years, still favor (or favour, if you prefer an extra vowel) a system that is more protective of a citizen's rights.

    The UK way has inherent benefits and flaws. So does the US way. But you shouldn't be surprised that we do it this way in the US. We are obnoxious about protecting our individual rights, and the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    If you don't like that... blame King George. He's the one who pushed us over the edge. :p
     
  10. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    In response to that, I looked for more details and I found this. Answer number six sounds like he knows what he's talking about:
    Not without your consent, a warrant, search incident to arrest, or probable cause that the briefcase contains illegal contraband.

    While the Supreme Court has made a vehicle exception to the warrant requirement, the preference is to obtain a warrant for any locked containers if possible. Ownership is not an issue; possession is the issue. It is in your vehicle where you have access to it, so it is considered legally in your possession and control.

    The second part of your question is more complex. If you are arrested for a crime, then the police have the lawful authority to search anywhere in the passenger compartment of the vehicle incident to arrest. This includes any compartment or container in the passenger compartment, locked or unlocked. Even if the briefcase was owned by a passenger who was in the car with you, it is subject to search incident to arrest since it was within your immediate span of control at the time of arrest. I had a similar case where I arrested a driver for DUI and searched a purse belonging to his passenger against her will and found drugs. She and her lawyer tried to have the drugs suppressed due to an improper search, but the case law stood and she was convicted. Ideally, the police would simply seize the locked briefcase and obtain a warrant before forcing it open, but they could legally force it open incident to arrest.

    An inventory is different and has different legal requirements. For an officer to conduct and inventory, it has to be part of an established and regularly used departmental policy. This policy must dictate what portions of the vehicle are to be inventoried. In this case, the briefcase would only be inventoried as a locked briefcase with unknown contents. If during this inventory, there is evidence that the briefcase may contain illegal contraband, or if other illegal contraband is located, then it is a different story. Again, ideally, the police would simply seize the briefcase and obtain a warrant if possible, but the vehicle exception does not necessarily require it.

    As far as the safe goes, the police would just hire a locksmith to open it or drill the lock.

    EDIT>>>

    It's interesting to see all the answers here from people who really think they know what they are talking about. If you are really interested in learning more about this, start with the case Carroll v. US: 267 U.S. 132 (1925). There is a variety of case law that applies to your question, and again, an inventory is different than a search incident to arrest.

    An additional point I didn't mention before in regards to your question is regarding consent to search. One key thing to remember about consent searches is that you retain the right to revoke consent or limit access at any point. If the officer asked you to open the briefcase and you declined, they can't make you or seize it without probable cause it contains contraband or is stolen. Your denial cannot be used as part of the probable cause because it is your right under the 4th Amendment to revoke or limit consent. What typically happens is someone gives consent to search (only God knows why), and wait until the police get close to finding their stash before trying to revoke consent. Problem is, by that point, it's usually too late and the officer has already gotten enough probable cause to continue the search anyhow. I have always said giving consent to search is the absolute worst thing anyone can do.
    Reference: Myself. Former police officer & academy instructor and current college instructor in criminology & criminal justice
    Of course, since he mentioned the difference between a search and an inventory, I'm not sure what would cover actually reading the contents.

    So, I looked some more and found this: The first whole paragraph on the 4th page states:
    The Philadelphia Police Department has in effect a
    policy found in Memorandum (99-14) for treatment of all luggage,
    including suitcases, briefcases, and footlockers, belonging to
    arrestees. According to this Memorandum, if the police have no
    reasonable suspicion that the luggage contains evidence of a
    crime, an inventory search of the item is conducted in the
    presence of the owner. This search is done to remove any weapons
    or contraband and to identify any valuables or other property
    belonging to the arrested individual so as to prevent theft or
    police liability. The owner of the luggage is then given a
    property receipt for its contents, which he can reclaim upon his
    release. If the police have reasonable suspicion that the
    luggage contains evidence of a crime, it is held but not opened
    until a search warrant is obtained. Only then is a search made.
    So, can non-weapon evidence found in an inventory search be used as evidence? If so, that would suggest that police could simply 'not suspect there of being evidence of a crime' in the briefcase, and thus search it without a warrant.

    I don't know, I'm confused now.

    Because arrest =/= conviction and because evidence used to convinct =/= evidence of guilt. Innocent people have reason to fear false convictions, in both the US and the UK.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  11. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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  12. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    It happens all the time, and that should not be a news flash to anyone. Also, just being charged with a crime can damage a person's reputation. There are many people who believe that if someone is charged it means they did something wrong, and that they found a way to beat the rap, or had a good lawyer. Just being accused of a crime means guilt in the minds of the ignorant.

    They typically can't, unless the authorities contact the cell phone provider's legal department. They can't just call or go into a store to get anyone's personal information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  13. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    More than that, it can easily cause ruin - for instance when charged with a drug or supposedly terrorism related crime in the US that usually means asset seizure or freezing - i.e. you can't access your bank account, with all the related consequences for paying bills, rent, mortgages, oh yes, and for competent legal counsel. Such charges alone mean they really have you with your back against the wall and exert significant pressure. Then there is the problematic practice of plea bargaining and so forth and so on ...

    The reputational damage and loss of standing in a community and loss of business only adds to these obvious problems. Then there is the strain on families and relationships, and the impact of such charges on possible divorce and child custody proceedings.
     
  14. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    just because someone has been exonerated doesnt mean they didnt do it.

    the court system is a farce, 12 people who dont know what they are doing deciding on evidence is not a good system, a recent case in Swansea proved this, where a security guard at the Quadrant strangled a man he attempted to restrain, the court was told that he was not trained in restraint and he held the man around the front neck and applied force to the back, members of the public remonstrated with him (he arms and legs are being held down by three other guards) when his face turned purple and he started foaming at the mouth. the coroner told the court that his death was caused by strangulation and yet, he was found not guilty of manslaughter by a jury.

    being arrested and being charged are two different things, arrest requires reasonable cause and being charged requires evidence, if anything police being allowed to do their jobs without being hindered is more likely to help a suspicious man than imprison him. I have been arrested for shoplifting, because a random member of the public phoned the police (I didnt want to pay 10p for a carrier bag, so I carried the two items in my hands), as a result I was arrested "for the purpose of carrying out a prompt and thorough investigation into the allegations" I didnt have the reciept, I had thrown it in the bin as I left the store, but I had paid with my card, so a quick check of my bank account revealed the payment, and I was released.
     
  15. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think actually spelling out "does not equal" is better than bastardizing ≠. Most computers have a character map so the correct symbols can be easily used.
     
  16. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Or use python - !=

    How do you know he was not not guilty?
     
  17. LKD Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    Sounds like the OJ trial all over again.

    I think most reasonable, law-abiding citizens want the police to be able to do their jobs and keep us safe from the depredations of criminals. In order to do that, the police need to have the authority to do certain things that everyday citizens cannot do. To use a euphemism I am not particularily fond of, they need the right tools to do the job.

    At the same time, those same reasonable, law-abiding citizens don't want the police to be able to do whatever they want to innocents with no oversight whatsoever. The trick is finding the balance.

    The whole discussion about never cooperating with the police makes me uncomfortable. I think that cooperating with lawful authority is a reasonable expectation of every citizen. If you do it, as in Shoshino's example, you are likely to end up solving the problem and go about your day. I know there are bad cops out there, but come on, people! A few bad apples shouldn't poison your view of the whole barrel.
     
  18. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    And it doesn't mean they did. Shosh, you seem to hold a harsh view against laws that protect a person's civil liberties. I gather that you are in law enforcement yourself, so I guess I can understand you wanting to see a system that makes it easier for that job to be carried out. I've never been in a law enforcement role, so I can't claim to know what it's like.

    At the same time, I find your attitude overly dismissive of the fact that without certain protections in place for the common people, some good people get hurt. And further, not all cops are virtuous individuals. Allowing some of the high school bullies who become cops to do whatever they want is something I have problems with.

    I was once chewed out by a cop because he didn't like where I stopped my car after having my tire blow out on the freeway. Where did I pull over my car? The first damn place I could, that's where. I figured that the exploding sound I heard was probably my tire, but as it was maybe the second blow out I had experienced in my life, it could have technically been anything. So reason and logic told me to get the car stopped as soon as possible. I guess the cop thought I should have just driven home on the thing....

    So while I was patiently waiting for a tow truck on the side of freeway, this cop pulls in behind me, and is immediately a rude jerk. I tried to politely explain my reasoning for pulling over where I did, and he just wasn't hearing me. He was just looking for someone to piss on. Finally, he did what he should have done from the get go, got in his car, and took off (after he failed to get me riled up like he was (I was pissed, but I didn't let it show)).

    I'm sorry, but as US citizen who works long hours, pays his taxes, abides by the laws, and is trying to raise a good, moral, church going family, I need to be protected from pricks like that cop. That was just a blow out. I can't imagine what he would have done if I had actually broken a law.

    What's worse, an innocent man getting dragged into the mud? Or a guilty man going free? Neither is good, and no system of laws is perfect and capable of protecting everyone. If there is no perfect balance to be achieved, I just as soon skew things slightly in favor of the innocent people out there. Some of us are innocent, and don't deserve to be hassled by a power-obsessed cop.
     
  19. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    were talking about the investigation of criminal offences, not dealing with arsehole officers. I have no problem with protections against arsehold officers, and to be perfectly blunt the US is the home of them. What I am against is any act which prohibits a criminal investigation, by this point in time it has gone far beyond the street cop, a person has already been arrested for an offence and further investigation into the alleged offence is taking place, a force should be allowed uninhibited powers to investigate the offence, in the UK these powers are authorised by the custody sergeant.

    I think civil liberties are an excuse to protect criminals.

    Im not in law enforcement, but I work closely with the Police, I have nothing but praise for them being severly underfunded and understaffed, dealing with a troubled society who thinks they have the freedom and right to do whatever they want and blame others for the problems.

    In the UK, becoming an officer is far from easy, first you have the application stage, complete with a logical reasoning questionnaire, then, if you pass the security vetting stage, you are selected for interview followed by a maths test and a further more rigorous logical reasoning test, if you pass that you are selected for a full physical and psychological examination, if you pass that you wait to be enrolled into the force. Then you recieve your physical training and your law training in the classroom, before carrying out supervised training with the public, then you are assigned to another experienced officer where you carry out 2 years of on the job training... then you are a full PC.
    I dont know how it happens in the US, but this process in the UK is pretty good at weeding out bad eggs.
     
  20. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    This is probably the stupidest thing I read since I ... well, since I last read Baronius, which, now that I think of it, was less than ten hours ago, but it is still plenty stupid.

    Do you have any idea where civil liberties come from any why the came into this world? What the concept of 'presumption of innocence' is about, and why it exists?
     
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