Amy Howe, Get a warrant! Today’s cellphone privacy decision in Plain English, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 25, 2014, 5:25 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/06/get-a-warrant-todays-cellphone-privacy-decision-in-plain-english/
Riley v. California in Plain English.
“In 1973, the Supreme Court held that police officers did not need a warrant to look inside a pack of cigarettes that they found in the coat pocket of a man who had been arrested. Those kinds of warrantless searches were allowed, the Court reasoned back then, to protect police officers and to prevent the destruction of evidence.
Forty years later, California and the federal government urged the Supreme Court to adopt the same rule for cellphones. Once someone is arrested, they contended, police should be able to go through the entire contents of his phone without a warrant because cellphones are just like any other item that you can carry in your hand or pocket. But today the Supreme Court emphatically rejected that argument. Therefore, unless it’s an emergency, police need to get a warrant before they can search your cellphone…”