US Supreme Court (ECWd) –
In a unanimous ruling our 4th Amendment Rights have been upheld!
The Court ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.
This is sure to lay a hefty blow to the recent Illinois Law, “Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act”, that we just argued last week in the Effingham School District #40 as a law that tramples our Constitutional Rights.
For those that are not aware of the recent Illinois Law, it gave School Administrators police powers to seize a student’s private password and other information so that they may access the social media accounts if the believe the student has violated a school policy or disciplinary rule. Their basis for such police action is on reasonable cause.
Reasonable based on whose definition?
During the Effingham School Board meeting there was not a single board member that could define what probable cause even meant as it relates to our 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many parents show up to that meeting with several expressing their concern of the newly exposed law that makes no mention of even a search warrant being needed. We urged they not enforce the law without serious constitution legal direction as on its face most lawyers we have spoken with agreed it was a badly written bill and will lead to legal problems for schools.
The Illinois law simply left it up to the uneducated to make a legal determination without any requirement to even contact the police, let alone the courts, prior to seizing private information. Sadly, people on that board were stupid enough to defend the new law and their policy that was recently implemented.
I suspect the law makers in Springfield will be scrambling to change the poor thought out bill that was disguised by its name, as it did NOTHING to ensure students have a right to privacy in the school setting! It did just the opposite and the ruling out of the Supreme Court this week is sure to send a message across the bow of many police agencies and school districts who routinely violate people’s rights as it relates to accessing their phones.
(Link to Courts Decision)