E.D.Mich.: Seizure of cell phone to preserve its evidence for a SW was reasonable

Seizure of defendant’s cell phone found near him when he was arrested was reasonable to preserve evidence until a search warrant could be obtained. United States v. Hamilton, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54953 (E.D. Mich. April 11, 2017):

The “practice of seizing an item based on probable cause in order to secure a search warrant for it” is permissible to prevent loss or destruction of suspected contraband or evidence of a crime. Citing United States v. Respress, 9 F.3d 483, 486, 488 (6th Cir. 1993) (such an item cannot sit in evidence too long before law enforcement seeks a search warrant—the warrant must be pursued diligently). The Government cites the Supreme Court’s recognition that cellular phones are vulnerable to evidence destruction even after a suspect is in custody because digital data can be “wiped” remotely; police may even take steps to protect that data by placing the phone in a Faraday bag or removing its battery. See Riley, 134 S.Ct. at 2486-87; Place, 462 U.S. at 701.

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