Supreme Court Hears Cell Phone Search Incident to Arrest Cases

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard two cases regarding whether law enforcement officers may search a suspect’s cell phone incident to arrest. Generally, the answer to that question in North Carolina has been yes, as I discussed here. But it sounds like a new rule may be coming soon. The cases. In United States v. Wurie, … Read more

Cell Phone Searches Headed to the Supreme Court?

In a post last week, I mentioned that it looks increasingly likely that Supreme Court will grant certiorari in a case considering cell phone searches. In this post, I’ll support that remark by describing two cases in which certiorari petitions have been filed and explaining why each is a strong candidate for Supreme Court review. … Read more

Can the Police Answer a Seized Cell Phone?

The Ninth Circuit recently decided a case that addresses a question I’ve been asked several times: may the police answer a seized cell phone? The answer may depend on the basis for, and circumstances of, the seizure. On the facts before the Ninth Circuit, the court answered no. The Ninth Circuit case. The case is … Read more

Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking: The Fifth Circuit Weighs In

I wrote here about how law enforcement officers may obtain historical information about the location of a suspect’s cellular phone. There have been several developments in the law since then, including earlier this week when the Fifth Circuit rendered its decision in In re Application of the United States of America for Historical Cell Site … Read more

Warrantless Searches of Computers and Other Electronic Devices

I keep a list of cases from across the country on warrantless searches of computers and other electronic devices. It covers topics like searches of cellular phones incident to arrest, whether consent to search a residence includes consent to search the computers therein, and whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in an employer-issued … Read more

Georgia Case on Searching Cell Phones Incident to Arrest

State court decisions from other southeastern states seem to carry a bit more weight as persuasive authority than do cases from jurisdictions that are farther afield. Therefore, I thought I’d summarize a recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals about searching cell phones incident to arrest. The case is Hawkins v. State. A police … Read more


Local Government Authority to Regulate Traffic

[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared here, on the School of Government’s local government blog. For an update on local government authority to regulate cell phone use by drivers, see this post.] Questions frequently arise regarding whether cities and counties may lawfully adopt ordinances regulating traffic. For instance, may a city or county allow the … Read more

Searching Cell Phones for Evidence of Texting While Driving

The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that cell phones generally cannot be searched without a warrant incident to arrest. That court’s decision is here. The law in North Carolina appears to be otherwise, as I’ve noted here and here. But reading the Ohio decision reminded me of a topic some colleagues and I were discussing … Read more

North Carolina Supreme Court on Searching Cell Phones

I’m still not done with the last round of court of appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court opinions, but I found a little gem in one of the high court’s opinions. For the first time, the state supreme court has addressed the search of a cell phone incident to arrest. I’ve blogged about this issue … Read more