SCOTUS ruling requiring warrants for cell phone data

SCOTUS ruling requiring warrants for cell phone data

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that law enforcement investigators are now required to seek a warrant before obtaining cell phone data from companies to track criminal suspects.

Murphysboro, Ill. Chief of Police Chad Roberts says this shouldn't be detrimental to law enforcement here in the Heartland.

"I don't think it's a big deal," he said, "I think the Supreme Court's job is to make sure that law enforcement understands the parameters we have to work in, and the other side of the coin [law enforcement] understands the parameters they have to work in."

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Prior to the ruling, Chief Roberts says cell phone companies had the choice to require officers provide a warrant before giving over data.

It depended on the company, but he says if investigators were seeking the data in an emergency, like a robbery or a kidnapping, they would could cooperate without need for a warrant.

Now that the choice of the cell phone companies is out of the equation and all requests for cell phone data require a warrant.

Chief Roberts says it will only be a very minor speed bump in investigations.

"It'll slow things down a little bit," he said. "But all an investigator has to do is articulate probable cause and a search warrant affidavit, then locate a state's attorney and a judge and present that information to them."

He says at most this step would slow a case down two to six hours.

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