Should police be allowed to search through cell phones after an arrest?
When a police officer has arrested a citizen for whatever reason, that does not permit the officer to search through the personal cell phone of the citizen. If there is just cause to search the arrested citizens’ cell phone then the officer would have to go through the proper channels to obtain a search warrant. In very critical circumstances, situations where a life may be in danger, I believe the arresting officer should be able to search for such information that would help to save the endangered person(s). In most cases there is no reason for a police officer to search a persons’ cell phone.
However, there are instances where a detective should have the right to view such information, even with it’s personal nature. I personally believe it is against our unalienable rights for any unlawful, illegal search of any personal property without proper cause and an accompanying search warrant. Only during investigations where the arrested has withheld information regarding a line of questioning should a search be performed. If the arrested individual denies the officer permission to search through their cell phone, that is when the officer should obtain a search warrant for the legal right to search the arrested individuals’ cell phone or other personal property.
The Miranda rights read to an individual being arrested invoke the right to an attorney. This right gives the arrested individual an opportunity to protect himself from any illegal search and seizure. This right also gives the individual an opportunity to have a fair say in what the officer may and may not do with their personal effects. An attorney will also seek to protect his client from any malicious interrogation tactics causing the arrested citizen to give up the few remaining rights he has. Any form of intrusion on behalf of the police must be handled through legal avenues where all letters of the law and all codes of ethics are followed.
Protecting the privacy of a citizen is just as important as protecting the citizen from personal harm or loss. In any situation where a citizen has been placed under arrest the police do have the right to hold his items while the individual is in custody. They will remove the cash from a wallet or purse, which I do not agree with, and will list each item that was removed from the citizen, but they should not go through their personal cell phone. At what point do we say enough is enough? Should we allow the law enforcement agencies to enslave us? We must always know our rights and be willing to exercise them.
A simple, every day item like a cell phone usually is not going to condemn a person to prison. In some serious cases, however, a cell phone may be the link that leads to the arrest of a dangerous criminal. All in all, the average citizen whom is arrested for a minor charge should not be subjected to a cell phone search, yet, if this person happens to have knowledge of a criminal nature, perhaps a search warrant will be the next course of action.