Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Court: Police Can Search Your Cell Phone In Brevard

ROCKLEDGE, Florida -- The Fifth District Court of Appeals (5th DCA) has reversed Brevard County Circuit Court Judge John Hariss' ruling that police can not search a person's cell phone after they have been arrested.

According to court documents, Ricardo Hermon Glasco was arrested by Rockledge police on February 8, 2010 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, possession of cannabis, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. 

After Glasco was handcuffed, the police searched his person and discovered his cell phone.  Glasco was transported to the police station, where officers conducted a further search of the cell phone while he was being processed into the jail.  Text messages retrieved from the cell phone revealed that Glasco had cocaine he intended to sell.  The arresting officer had no fear that any evidence on the cell phone would be destroyed once Glasco was handcuffed.  A search warrant was not obtained prior to the search of the cell phone.

During pretrial proceedings in the criminal case, Glasco's defense attorney moved to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the alleged unlawful search of Glasco's cell phone, including texts, photographs, and call history.  Judge Harris granted the defense's motion to suppress which the State the appealed to the 5th DCA.

Relying on court rulings in other cases which allowed for police to search cell phones, the 5th DCA reversed Harris' ruling and remanded the case back to the trial court.  But the ruling doesn't end there.  The 5th DCA has certified the issue to be of great public importance to the Florida Supreme Court where this legal issue may once again be reviewed if the Florida Supreme Court decides to hear the case.

Photo: Brevard Times File