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Are there Exceptions to the Cell Phone Search and Seizure Law?

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroomPreviously we discussed the rights people have to keep the information on their cell phone private if stopped or arrested by an officer of the law. The federal government decided not long ago, that in order for anyone to search your phone, a warrant must be issued first. For most of us, having someone search our phone is not an issue of what is on our phone, but rather another case of our freedom and liberties being squashed by a government who is supposed to be for the people. As Americans, we believe that people are innocent until proven guilty, and that in order to be searched (whether that be our being or our personal property) there needs to be just cause. But, are there instances in which a warrant may come too late? Our phones are like tiny personal computers, and store a great deal of information that helps us, but could also hurt us if put into the wrong hands. On the contrary, that same information can also help people in dire situations. I, like most others, believe that the shoot first, ask questions later approach is a foolish way to go about anything. Searching a person’s cell phone at a routine traffic stop, or any other routine call can be just that. The police are meant to keep us safe and work for the public as a whole. Giving them more and more power over the public can be detrimental in a number of ways, never mind taking away the rights and freedoms of individual Americans. But what about in the case of a child? As most parents agree, children need to be defended, protected and advocated for in a way that far exceeds that of an adult. Children are often unable to mentally or physically protect themselves, and often do not have the knowledge or experience to always know right from wrong. When an adult manipulates a child in order to harm them in any way, their parents and authorities should do everything in their power to stop that from happening. If a child has been abducted, molested or used in child pornography, obtaining a search warrant can give the suspect warning to the police’s ideas and cause them to panic. Most likely if panicked, that person will then begin to destroy any evidence linking him or her to the problem. In order to acquire a search warrant, whether for a home, car, or other personal property, officers need just cause. In order to get evidence for just cause, they likely will need to speak with the suspect beforehand. This of course raises red flags. If a person begins to destroy evidence that links him or her to a child-related crime, not only will that particular case be compromised, but future cases related to that individual as well. It has been found in research time and time again that child predators are repeat offenders, and often cannot control their impulses. So it is likely that one case can not only help that particular child involved, but also many more children in the future. Abduction cases are yet another instance where time is of utmost importance, but both children and adults’ lives hang in the balance. During the time in which it takes to get a warrant, an abductor can be hundreds of miles away with their captive. Or what of the instance when an abductor is pulled over by an officer of the law, and there is no time to acquire a warrant? As in many situations, there are exceptions to every rule, and this search and seizure law is no different. In many cases we would all agree that our freedom is extremely important, it is what our country was based on. But the lives of others is and can be even more important. If it was your child who was abducted, would you be so set on what is constitutionally right? I think for many, when it comes to the lives of their son, daughter, spouse or other loved one, we are willing to bend the rules. If you’re a parent, you know that you would do more than bend the rules. You would risk your life, and even kill, in order to protect your child. The question here is, should there be exceptions to the rules if it could save another’s life? Should your cell phone that stores some of the most important information about you, be searched if time is of the essence. Or, a better question might be, would you be willing to willingly give up your own right if you were in that situation?