/ Modified sep 12, 2016 2:52 p.m.

Cell Phone Search Requires Warrant, Arizona Supreme Court Says

Right to privacy extends to one's phone even when it is in another's apartment, judges wrote.

Generic Court Eagle Spot
Mariana Dale, AZPM


The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that a person’s cell phone cannot be searched without a warrant and that a person should have an expectation of privacy when bringing a cell phone to a friend’s home.

The court upheld a lower court’s decision saying a Tucson man’s right to privacy extended to the contents of his cell phone when he was visiting his girlfriend’s apartment.

Police responded to a call that the man's girlfriend was unresponsive. When an officer checked a cell phone in the apartment, looking for the woman’s contacts, he saw a video. The phone belonged to the man, who was then charged with necrophilia and sexual assault.

He argued the police search of his phone was without a warrant, so the video could not be used to prove the charges against him.

The court agreed, and said overnight guests have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their host’s homes. The court also said a person’s cell phone is protected against warrantless search.

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