Cops’ cell phone searches still OK
October 12, 2011
California law enforcement agencies can continue to search the digital contents of cell phones taken from arrested persons after Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a legislative attempt to require warrants for such actions. [SanFranciscoChronicle]
The torpedoed bill’s author, state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) told the San Francisco Chronicle today that he is free to re-introduce the bill in January. Leno’s bill would have nullified a state supreme court ruling upholding the warrant-less practice.
Brown said in his veto message that the courts are “better suited” to decide when a search is lawful. His veto surprised privacy-rights advocates and media organizations, which had supported it.
Law enforcement entities worked successfully to undermine it, contending that such cell phone searches often provide valuable evidence for subsequent prosecutions.
Leno first told reporters that he would have to skip a legislative session before he could introduce the bill again, because of house rules. But a vetoed bill is not subject to those sanctions, he said this week.