Search incident of a cell phone requires a narrow view. The search here was six hours after the arrest, so it was not “incident.” United States v. Dimarco, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16279 (S.D. N.Y. February 5, 2013) (good analysis of the history of search incident as it would apply):
First, the timing of Agent Morales's search of DiMarco's cell phone makes it unreasonable to conclude that the search was performed incident to or contemporaneous with his arrest. Even the Government admits that more than six hours passed between DiMarco's arrest and the search of his cell phone. (See generally Gov't Post Hr'g Opp'n Mem. at 15 (chart establishing timing and events on February 2, 2012); see also Tr. at 69-70, 91-94; Gov't Exs. 3, 8.) By comparison, almost all of the courts of authority that have upheld the search of a cell phone under the search incident to arrest exception, contemplated searches that occurred as, or soon after, a suspect was arrested. See, e.g., Murphy, 552 F.3d at 411-12 (initial search of cell phone occurred when arrestee handed phone to arresting officer); Curry, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5438, 2008 WL 219966, at *10 (search occurred "within less than a half hour of defendant's arrest"); Santillan, 571 F. Supp. 2d at 1102 (search occurred "mere minutes after the arrest and seizure" of phone).
Even in Finley, the case upon which the Government relies, the cell phone search was contemporaneous to Finley's arrest because the DEA Agent searched the phone during the course of investigative activities in the field and well before the police took him to the police station to begin processing the arrest and inventorying the items seized. See 477 F.3d at 254-55, 260. In addition, multiple courts have determined that cell phone searches occurring within much fewer than six hours were not sufficiently contemporaneous to be considered an incident of an arrest. ...
. . .
Although the Government asserts that it is relying on the search incident to arrest exception as discussed in Edwards, and not the inventorying procedure exception, for the proposition that a search may be incident to a lawful custodial arrest so long as the administrative procedures inherent to the arrest are ongoing, (Gov't Post Hr'g Opp'n Mem. at 14), this is too simplistic a reading of Edwards. ...
Second, the delayed search of DiMarco's cell phone was unreasonable because the reasons that Agent Morales stated for conducting the search are not relevant to the justifications underlying the search incident to arrest exception. DiMarco's cell phone presented no threat to the officers. Cf. Chimel, 395 U.S. 752 at 773, 89 S. Ct. 2034, 23 L. Ed. 2d 685 (justifying warrantless search incident to arrest because "[t]here is always a danger that the suspect will try to escape, seizing concealed weapons with which to overpower and injure the arresting officers"). Nor has the Government, which has the burden of proof to show reasonableness, shown that DiMarco would have been able to destroy the evidence on his cell phone once the phone was placed under the exclusive authority of the NYPD. See id. (justifying warrantless search incident to arrest because "there is [also] a danger that [a suspect] may destroy evidence vital to the prosecution").
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having
and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
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safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
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But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
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"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
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—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
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—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)