Wisconsin Supreme Court Refuses to Limit Warrantless Forensic Searches of Cell Phones

This post was originally published on Epic

The particular Wisconsin Supreme Court released an opinion in Wisconsin v. Burch finding that cell phone information downloaded with a forensic device can be used in a following, unrelated investigation and test regardless of whether the data was initially acquired without a warrant in breach of the Fourth Amendment. The police department used the forensic device to down load the entire contents of the defendant’s phone while investigating the hit-and-run and retained a complete copy indefinitely. The sheriff’s office later accessed plus searched the copy throughout an unrelated homicide investigation plus used the defendant’s cell phone information as evidence during their trial. The Wisconsin Great Court refused to decide the particular constitutional question. Instead, the particular Court found that the proof should not be excluded because the law enforcement “acted by the book” plus there was no conduct in order to deter with exclusion. The particular Court said that the sheriff’s office “ha[d] every reason to think [the downloaded data] was legitimately obtained” and found there is no police misconduct since it is “common police practice to talk about records with other agencies. inch Dissenting from this holding, Determine Bradley, along with two various other justices of the court, regarded that law enforcement “generally requires a warrant to search the data [cell phones] hold. inch She added that the exclusionary rule should apply in cases like this because “excluding evidence attained by following such an unlawful plus widespread policy provides substantial societal value by each specifically deterring continued fidelity to an unconstitutional practice and much more broadly incentivizing police organizations to adopt policies in line with the 4th Amendment. ” EPIC, combined with the ACLU and EFF, submitted an amicus brief in the case that contended that the unchecked use of forensic devices to download, shop, and share cell data broken the Fourth Amendment by “enabl[ing] the State in order to rummage at will among a homeowner’s most personal and personal information whenever it wanted, so long as it wanted” without a justify. EPIC regularly files amicus briefs challenging illegal access to cell phone data .

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