Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cops precluded from searching cell phone of DUI or other criminal arrestee, California DUI attorneys share

Police may not search digitial information on the cell phone of a California DUI arrestee without a warrant, San Diego drunk driving lawyers report today.



No. 13–132. Argued April 29, 2014—Decided June 25, 2014*

In No. 13–132, petitioner Riley was stopped for a traffic violation,which eventually led to his arrest on weapons charges. An officer searching Riley incident to the arrest seized a cell phone from Riley’s pants pocket. The officer accessed information on the phone and noticed the repeated use of a term associated with a street gang. At the police station two hours later, a detective specializing in gangs further examined the phone’s digital contents. Based in part on photographs and videos that the detective found, the State charged Riley in connection with a shooting that had occurred a few weeks earlier and sought an enhanced sentence based on Riley’s gang membership.Riley moved to suppress all evidence that the police had obtained from his cell phone. The trial court denied the motion, and Riley was convicted. The California Court of Appeal affirmed. In No. 13–212, respondent Wurie was arrested after police observed him participate in an apparent drug sale. At the police station, the officers seized a cell phone from Wurie’s person and noticed that the phone was receiving multiple calls from a source identified as “my house” on its external screen. The officers opened the phone, accessed its call log, determined the number associated with the “my house” label, and traced that number to what they suspected was Wurie’s apartment. They secured a search warrant and found drugs,was then charged with drug and firearm offenses.

He moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the search of the apartment. The District Court denied the motion, and Wurie was convicted. The First Circuit reversed the denial of the motion to suppress and vacated the relevant convictions.

Held: The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital
information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been
arrested. Pp. 5–28.

(a) A warrantless search is reasonable only if it falls within a specific
exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. See
Kentucky v. King, 563 U. S. ___, ___. The well-established exception
at issue here applies when a warrantless search is conducted incident
to a lawful arrest.

Three related precedents govern the extent to which officers may
search property found on or near an arrestee. Chimel v. California,
395 U. S. 752, requires that a search incident to arrest be limited to
the area within the arrestee’s immediate control, where it is justified
by the interests in officer safety and in preventing evidence destruction.
In United States v. Robinson, 414 U. S. 218, the Court applied
the Chimel analysis to a search of a cigarette pack found on the arrestee’s
person. It held that the risks identified in Chimel are present
in all custodial arrests, 414 U. S., at 235, even when there is no
specific concern about the loss of evidence or the threat to officers in a
particular case, id., at 236. The trilogy concludes with Arizona v.
Gant, 556 U. S. 332, which permits searches of a car where the arrestee
is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger
compartment, or where it is reasonable to believe that evidence of the
crime of arrest might be found in the vehicle, id., at 343. Pp. 5–8.

(b) The Court declines to extend Robinson’s categorical rule to
searches of data stored on cell phones. Absent more precise guidance
from the founding era, the Court generally determines whether to exempt
a given type of search from the warrant requirement “by assessing,
on the one hand, the degree to which it intrudes upon an individual’s
privacy and, on the other, the degree to which it is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.” Wyoming v.Houghton, 526 U. S. 295, 300. That balance of interests supported
the search incident to arrest exception in Robinson. But a search of
digital information on a cell phone does not further the government
interests identified in Chimel, and implicates substantially greater
individual privacy interests than a brief physical search. Pp. 8–22.

(1) The digital data stored on cell phones does not present either
Chimel risk. Pp. 10–15.

(i) Digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a
weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape.
Officers may examine the phone’s physical aspects to ensure
that it will not be used as a weapon, but the data on the phone can
endanger no one.To the extent that a search of cell phone data might warn officers of an impending danger, e.g., that the arrestee’s confederates are headed to the scene, such a concern is better addressed through consideration of case-specific exceptions to the warrant requirement, such as exigent circumstances. See, e.g., Warden, Md. Penitentiary v. Hayden, 387 U. S. 294, 298–299. Pp. 10–12.

(ii) The United States and California raise concerns about the destruction of evidence, arguing that, even if the cell phone is physically secure, information on the cell phone remains vulnerable to remote wiping and data encryption. As an initial matter, those broad concerns are distinct from Chimel’s focus on a defendant who responds to arrest by trying to conceal or destroy evidence within his reach. The briefing also gives little indication that either problem is prevalent or that the opportunity to perform a search incident to arrest would be an effective solution. And, at least as to remote wiping, law enforcement currently has some technologies of its own for combatting the loss of evidence. Finally, law enforcement’s remaining concerns in a particular case might be addressed by responding in a targeted manner to urgent threats of remote wiping, see Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U. S. ___, ___, or by taking action to disable a phone’s locking mechanism in order to secure the scene, see Illinois v. McArthur, 531 U. S. 326, 331–333. Pp. 12–15.

(2) A conclusion that inspecting the contents of an arrestee’s pockets works no substantial additional intrusion on privacy beyond the arrest itself may make sense as applied to physical items, butmore substantial privacy interests are at stake when digital data is involved. Pp. 15–22.

(i) Cell phones differ in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense from other objects that might be carried on an arrestee’s person. Notably, modern cell phones have an immense storage capacity. Before cell phones, a search of a person was limited by physical realities and generally constituted only a narrow intrusion on privacy.

But cell phones can store millions of pages of text, thousands of pictures, or hundreds of videos. This has several interrelated privacy consequences.

First, a cell phone collects in one place many distinct types of information that reveal much more in combination than any isolated record.

Second, the phone’s capacity allows even just one type of information to convey far more than previously possible.

Third, data on the phone can date back for years. In addition, an element of pervasiveness characterizes cell phones but not physical records. A decade ago officers might have occasionally stumbled across a highly personal item such as a diary, but today many of the more than 90% of American adults who own cell phones keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives. Pp. 17–

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pacific Beach San Diego California DUI Checkpoint pops 14, lawyers announce

Last night, of all the San Diego drivers going through the Poway DUI roadblock, there was only about a .03% chance of a California DUI arrest, San Diego drunk driving attorneys reported today.

At the standard 2600 Ingraham Street Pacific Beach San Diego DUI checkpoint location from 11 pm to 3 am June 21 and 22, over 1,000 vehicles were subject to this Nazi Germany style of trapping drivers who could not see the staged trap until after going over the bridge.

Because there were just fourteen arrests for San Diego DUI, there was about a 1.4% chance of a California DUI arrest.  That almost a 5 times better chance of busting someone for Drunk Driving in the PB Area of San Diego County, lawyers convert.

PB's DUI cops detained 29 drivers for "sobriety evaluation" while impounding 15 cars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

DUI Death is the worst, California DUI attorneys agree

When someone is killed by a drunk driver, it can be very difficult for a California DUI lawyer to defend.  No one wants to see someone die upon a DUI collision.  Often the death is not foreseen by the drunk driver.

2 stories over the weekend both resulted in DUI deaths in California, San Diego attorneys learned today.

A Riverside daughter ran over her father after she left the house following an argument and he tried to prevent her from driving.  She hit him, realized it and just sobbed as he died afterwards.  What a way to start father's day weekend.

A former substance abuse counselor maintained someone jumped on her hood, causing her to panic, driving 2 miles as the body was wedged in the windshield.  Other motorists boxed her in.  Twice the legal limit, with two prior felony strikes, she was sentenced to 55 years to life for second degree murder and continuing to drive.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lucky Bieber gets DUI & Resisting arrest charges dropped after drag racing

More really good fortune fell upon Justin Bieber as Florida DUI prosecutors agree to drop drunk driving and resisting arrest charges if he completes an anger management course.  Nice deal, emphasize San Diego DUI lawyers who probably would not encounter such generous California prosecuting lawyers.

The day before, California felony cellphone theft charges were determined not to be filed by the District Attorney's Office.  Los Angeles City Attorney may still bring misdemeanor charges after Justin allegedly grabbed a cellphone out of a fan's mother's handbag upon catching her photographing him at a Sherman Oaks California arcade.  No witness corroborated the charge after she filed a police report.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

San Diego DUI Checkpoints in Oceanside & Pacific Beach trap California motorists resulting in numerous drunk driving arrests, attorneys warn

San Diego County DUI Law Center News Release

California DUI Roadblocks made nineteen drunk driving arrests in San Diego County over the weekend from Pacific Beach to Oceanside & National City.

The lead "flavor of the month" California DUI Checkpoint location from 11 pm to 3 am is at 2700 Garnet Ave., another reason to avoid Pacific Beach San Diego on a Weekend night.  If you avoid that location, they have an alternative which can also be found here near the Mission Bay High School.

Oceanside has been doing back to back California DUI checkpoints, with this weekend's roadblock from 9:30 pm to 1:30 am at Oceanside Blvd and Vine in San Diego County, lawyers are told.

National City sprouted a California drunk driving roadblock at 2600 Highland looking for happy-hour home seekers from 6 pm to 1 a.m, attorneys relate.