The article I choose to write about dealt with the controversial topic of cops being able to search cell phones when examining a crime scene. This whole topic was brought up during a case that took place in Indiana. When police arrived at a location for a routine drug bust they ended up finding a batch of cellphones. The police then searched each cell phone for the cell phone’s telephone number. By being able to find the telephone numbers police were allowed to trace back the call histories on each cellphone. The call histories of each cellphone number traced the owners to the illegal drug operation that was being investigated. One of the men who were found guilty filled an appeal of his conviction stating that the police had no right to search his cell phone without a warrant. The appeal ended up not holding up in the U.S. court of appeals for the 7th circuit. The court came to the conclusion that any infringement of the defendant's privacy by the police was so minor that it did not violate his constitutional protection against unreasonable search. According to the judge, “finding an owner's number is fine, but police can’t read text messages or look at photos stored on the phone without a judge's permission.” The article ended with a question and it stated, “Do you think police should be able to look at a suspect's text messages or other data without a warrant?”
I believe this decision has left many questions for other judges/cases to be interpreted when it comes to this issue. I personally believe a police officer should be able to look through some ones cell phone to be able to find out his/hers number. On the other hand I am still indecisive when it comes to looking through text messages and pictures. If you think about it now days a cell phone is like a computer or laptop. You are able to do so much more now on cell phones that you were not able to do five to ten years ago. This being said you need a warrant to search someone’s computer or laptop, so I believe you need a warrant to search someone’s cell phone in depth. In the end I am completely spilt in half with the decision to allow police officers to search your cell phone. In one hand I believe you should be able to look through a cellphone to be able to find out the cell phone number, but on the other hand I am still not sold a 100% with allowing police officers to be able to look through an individual’s text messages and photos. While reading the article I found it interesting that the judge compared a cell phone to someone’s personal diary/journal. The judge said, “Police can open a journal to find out the owner's address, but can't read anything else without a warrant.” In my opinion, this comparison works perfectly when trying to define what police can or can’t do when it comes to investigating an individual’s cell phone. This whole topic relates to the whole issue of ethics. How much power/discretion are police allowed when it comes to investigating evidence at a crime scene?