discussion question 1627

Discuss the legal issues in Riley v. California, and assess how you believe the decision in Riley v. California could influence police policy and procedure.


Respond to 2 classmates

classmate 1 Salina Spencer discussion

Riley v. California was a United States Supreme Court case that took place in 2014. The incident in question took place August 2, 2009 when David Riley, an alleged gang member, was stopped for a traffic violation that escalated to his arrest for weapons in the car. During the arrest, an officer seized Riley’s cellphone from his pocket. At the police station, a detective went through the cellphone and found evidence of a shooting and gang affiliation. Riley argued that his Fourth Amendment right was violated. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The case was presented to the Supreme Court to decide whether cell phones can be subject to warrantless searches when an individual is arrested. The Supreme Court rules that warrantless searches of a cell phone during an arrest were unconstitutional.

Because of this case, law enforcement agencies should have to establish a policy or procedure stating what items can and cannot be searched without a warrant. This case should be the standard set that cell phones should not be searched without a warrant because it is considered unconstitutional. After reviewing the case, I completely agree with the decision of the Supreme Court. At times law enforcement actions appear that they believe that just because an individual is a criminal means they do not have constitutional rights.

Classmate 2 Camry Gregory

The case of Riley v California (2014) involved a series of legal issues that helped pave the way for better improvements for law enforcement overall. In the case of Riley v California, Riley was a gang member who was involved in a shooting. Approximately 20 days following the shooting, Riley was pulled over in a vehicle that had expired license tags. Due to police policy, the car had to be impounded and an inventory had to be performed. Things became problematic for Riley when his cell phone, which on his person, got taken to be analyzed by a gang unit detective. It was later officially proved that Riley indeed belonged to a gang and was involved in the shooting weeks before.

Supreme Court was questioned on if the evidence later admitted to trial from Riley’s cell phone violated his Fourth Amendment right (Riley v California, n.d.). The Justices unanimously said yes. A warrantless search was performed, and it wasn’t for the officer’s safety. A digital data is not classified as being threatening to an officer per se. The decision in Riley v California could be extremely influential if policies and laws are created to distinguish guidelines for officers to follow regarding phones and searches.