In 2008, Cedric Smallwood was arrested in connection with a convenience store robbery in Jacksonville. Police seized Smallwood’s phone, went through it and identified images they were helpful to the prosecution. However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last week 5-2 that while police had a right to seize Smallwood’s phone, they did not have a right to examine its contents without a warrant.“Vast amounts of private, personal information can be stored and accessed in or through these small electronic devices, including not just phone numbers and call history, but also photos, videos, bank records, medical information, daily planners, and even correspondence between individuals through applications such as Facebook and Twitter,” wrote Justice Fred Lewis.
According to the opinion, cellphones, like home computers, should have a higher expectation of privacy.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful search and seizure, contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Robert Malove.