September 2, 2011

Legislature passes bill to overrule recent Supreme Court decision

In January, a 5-2 Supreme Court held in People v. Diaz that “the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution permits law enforcement officers, approximately 90 minutes after lawfully arresting a suspect and transporting him to a detention facility, to conduct a warrantless search of the text message folder of a cell phone they take from his person after the arrest.”

Even though a petition for certiorari is still pending in the United States Supreme Court in the case (indeed, the high court specifically requested the State to respond to the petition), the Legislature passed a bill to overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision, at least to the extent that a state statute can do so. The bill states the Legislature’s intent “to reject as a matter of California statutory law the rule under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution announced by the California Supreme Court in People v. Diaz.”

The First Amendment Coalition, a sponsor of the bill, reports it is uncertain whether Governor Brown will sign the bill because of law enforcement opposition.


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