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Challenging Cell Phone Searches Incident to Arrest
By Hanni M. Fakhoury
Editor’s Note: Following completion of this article, the U.S. Supreme Court received two petitions for certiorari involving the issue of cell phone searches. A petition was filed in People v. Riley, 2013 WL 475242 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013), a case in which the court found the search incident to arrest exception permitted the warrantless search of a smartphone. The United States also filed a petition for certiorari in United States v. Wurie, 728 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2013), in which the First Circuit ruled that the search incident to arrest exception did not permit the search of a simple flip phone without a search warrant. As The Champion went to press, the Supreme Court had not decided whether or not to grant certiorari in either case.
Cell phones are now a staple of American life. A 2011 Pew Research Center Report found 83 percent of all American adults have a cell phone1 and a 2012 report found that 45 percent of those cell phones are Internet-connected “smartphones.”2 As cell phon
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