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SCOTUS Finds Police Need a Warrant to Track a Cellphone - Criminal Justice News

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Criminal Justice News

Posted on: Jul 2, 2018

By Jennifer P. Harrison, Lewis & Wilkins LLP

Technology is ever-changing and progressing in what it can do for us personally and how it affects investigations of criminal activity.  We have seen the judiciary grapple with whether or not to force a company to “break into” a phone for law enforcement to what is required to place a tracker on a vehicle for a person under investigation.  

Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Carpenter v. United States that police must obtain a search warrant in order to get access to cellphone location information during a criminal investigation of an individual. Chief Justice Roberts found this is a kind of surveillance that the framers of the Constitution did not want to occur without a search warrant.  

The full opinion can be found here. Interestingly enough, all four dissenters wrote their own dissent.

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