Civil Liberties

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Civil Liberties

The Riley versus California case was a decision that was effected by the police after David Leon Riley had been pulled over for registration tags that had expired. The mandate was to impound the vehicle and have it towed by the fire department. It was to ensure that the driver did not drive again. In the process, a discovery of two handguns was made possible within the suspect’s hood. From the ballistic report, it was established that Riley was among the suspects fronted in a murder involving a gang group with weapons. Due to lack of positive identity on the suspect’s involvement by eyewitnesses, the officer at the traffic stop placed Riley under arrest especially with the weapons findings and other paraphernalia. Riley’s phone was also searched without any arrest leading to the discovery of his membership to Lincoln Park Gang.Riley was then charged with the subsequent counts of shooting that took place as evidence from his cell phone provided an insurmountable counter claim. An enhancement was also placed on the same due to Riley’s membership of the gang sparking a petition on the ruling of the cell phone evidence used in the arrest on a trial basis.

In the process of judicial delivery of the petition, several sides marked the support and opposition of the warrant-less cell phone searches. Some of the supporters of the warrant-less searches include law enforcement leaders and state officials. Their main support of the search placed the safety of the police officers involved in the arrest at the given time. They also constituted the relevance of the information contained in the cell phones especially where possible extraction of material evidence that can be used to implicate a suspect or offender. In addition, they cited the ability of the suspect to wipe out data from the cell phone, which might give crucial data in solving some of the cases in connection with an offense. On the other hand, the opposing entities into the warrantless cell phone searches include the civil libertarians and leaders from Congress. When the rights of a citizen are infringed, they pegged the fourth amendment as the main support of instituting the warrant before any other operation (Friedman 47). They also cite the fact that it sets a negative precedence if warrantless searches are allowed with the magnitude of privacy placed on personal cell phones in the country.

In connection to the Riley versus California case, I support the action taken by Officer Dunnigan at the time of the search and arrest. The immediate action to carry out a warrantless search on the suspect’s cell phone enabled a crucial determinant of his identity and subsequent role in the gang-related shooting. Failure to institute the search would have led to providing an escape route for the suspect (Robertson 31). However, the main issue is placed on the fourth amendment and its equal importance in safeguarding personal privacy. As a fundamental right and act of democratic freedom, the privacy of any citizen is of uttermost importance. It should be respected and protected by the law. With the advancement of technology and ability generated through the cell phones today, there are unlimited possibilities placed on the gadgets. In addition, the effective wiping out of data can be used to solve criminal justice cases in the land. I, therefore, support the warrantless cell phone searches if the vindication is on law and order maintenance where the safety of the people and state officials is concerned.


Works Cited

Friedman, Lauri S. Civil Liberties. Greenhaven P, 2010.

Roberson, Cliff. Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice. CRC Press, 2016.



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