Jerry Brown vetoes bill requiring warrant to search cellphones


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Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have made it illegal for police to search a suspect’s portable electronic devices during an arrest unless they had a court-issued warrant for the search.

Since he didn’t sign that bill into law, California police remain clear to search suspects’ cellphones, tablets and other mobile electronic gadgets in the event of an arrest.


Cellphones can aid law enforcement in their investigations, as they may contain a person’s contact list, call logs, email and text messages, photos, videos and recent locations, among other personal data.

The measure, SB 914, was sponsored by the ACLU and written by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

‘This measure would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that held that police officers can lawfully search the cellphones of people who they arrest,’ Brown said in a statement on why he shot down the bill. ‘The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections.’

As noted by Wired magazine, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the California Supreme Court’s stance on this issue last week.

As reported by The Times’ Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York, Brown also approved or rejected more than 140 other bills Sunday. Among the legislation Brown signed into law was a ban on minors using tanning beds in California.



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