Legal News of the Day: Massachusetts Supreme Court Allows Warrantless Cell Phone Search

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that police do not require a warrant to search a suspect’s cell phone once the suspect has been lawfully arrested.  In both Commonwealth v. Phifer and Commonwealth v. Berry, the court upheld searches of the suspect’s cell phone as searches incident to arrest, despite the suspects’ claims that cell phones differ from other items a person is carrying at the time of arrest because of a phone’s ability to store large amounts of information.  In both cases, the court ruled only on the particular facts of the case at hand and did not rule on whether a cell phone seized incident to arrest can always be searched without a warrant.