CO: SW for everything on cell phone was general warrant in violation of 4A

The search warrant for defendant’s cell phone had a particular list of files sought, but it still was effectively a general warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment because it sought virtually everything on the cell phone without regard to the probable cause. People v. Coke, 2020 CO 28, 2020 Colo. LEXIS 383 (Apr. 27, 2020):

[*P35] Here, the warrant allowed officers to search Coke’s phone for the following:
• Data which tends to show possession, dominion and control over said equipment; including but not limited to system ownership information, phone number, pictures, or documents bearing the owner’s name or information;
• Any electronic data that would be illegal to possess (contraband), or fruits or proceeds of a crime, or data intended to be used in the commission of a crime;
• All telephone contact lists, phone books and telephone logs;
• Any text messages and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) stored, sent, received or deleted;
• Any photographs or images stored, sent, received or deleted;
• Any videos stored, sent, received or deleted[;]
• Any electronic data packets stored, sent, received or deleted.

[*P36] The trial court found that the warrant was overbroad because phones “are a repository of almost everything that is private and personal and deserving of [heightened] protection” and the warrant gave the officers virtually unfettered access to it. We agree.

[*P37] Given modern cell phones’ immense storage capacities and ability to collect and store many distinct types of data in one place, this court has recognized that cell phones “hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life'” and are, therefore, entitled to special protections from searches. Davis, ¶¶ 17-22, 438 P.3d at 269-70 (quoting Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373, 403, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 189 L. Ed. 2d 430 (2014)). Further, this court has held that a warrant authorizing the search of a cell phone simply for general indicia of ownership would violate the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement. See People v. Herrera, 2015 CO 60, ¶¶ 4, 18, 357 P.3d 1227, 1228, 1230.

[*P38] Despite these recent admonitions, the warrant at issue here contains no particularity as to the alleged victim or to the time period during which the assault allegedly occurred. Rather, it permitted the officers to search all texts, videos, pictures, contact lists, phone records, and any data that showed ownership or possession. We conclude that such broad authorization violates the particularity demanded by the Fourth Amendment. Because it authorized a general search of Coke’s phone, it was also unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. See Davis, ¶ 15, 438 P.3d at 269 (“When analyzing the legality of a search, the ‘ultimate touchstone’ is reasonableness.”). Therefore, the trial court did not err by excluding the evidence. See People v. Roccaforte, 919 P.2d 799, 802 (Colo. 1996) (“The principal means of effectuating the [particularity] requirement is to suppress all evidence seized pursuant to an overbroad, general warrant.”).

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