N.D.Ga.: 16 day delay in search of cell phone under SW not unreasonable

After a lawful seizure of a cell phone and issuance of a search warrant to search it, a 16 day delay in actually searching the phone did not make it unreasonable. United States v. Brantley, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198432 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 4, 2017):

The sixteen-day duration of the delay was relatively short. The Government did not present evidence regarding the reasons for the delay and thus the Court is unable to fully balance the governmental versus private interests at stake. See Laist, 702 F.3d at 614 (noting that when balancing the interest at stake, the court “take[s] into account whether the police diligently pursue[d] their investigation”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); Mitchell, 565 F.3d at 1351 (finding that, although the defendant’s possessory interests was substantial, the government failed to offer a compelling justification for the delay). In this case, given the finding that interference with Brantley’s privacy interests was minimal, including because it was short, Brantley was in custody and likely unable to use his phone even if he had it, and Brantley did not request the phones be returned, the lack of justification for the delay—while a factor—does not alone require a finding that the search was unconstitutional. This criteria plays a neutral role in the analysis.

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