W.D.Ark.: Govt had independent source for cracking password on Android phone by software so def’s suppressed confession doesn’t suppress phone

While defendant’s confession was suppressed, his passwords to his phone were not because it was an Android phone, and the government could get in to an Android phone with its software. Thus, there was an independent source. United States v. Ashmore, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185939 (W.D. Ark. Dec. 7, 2016):

Officers executed a valid search warrant which included both the computer and the cell phone. Also, Heffner testified that having the passwords to Ashmore’s computer and cell phone made the on-site preview simpler, but that those passwords were unnecessary for a later forensic analysis. Heffner stated that during forensics he removes the hard drive from the computer and does not need a password to access the hard drive unless it is encrypted, and Ashmore’s hard drive was not encrypted. In addition, Ashmore’s cell phone was a Samsung Android, which, according to Heffner, have passwords that can be bypassed with the right software or equipment. Heffner made clear that he would have been able to access the information on Ashmore’s computer and cell phone without the passwords provided by Ashmore at his residence. Thus, the Court finds that the independent source doctrine applies, and the contents of Ashmore’s computer and cell phone will not be suppressed.

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