Supreme Court: Police can't search cell phones without warrant - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Supreme Court: Police can't search cell phones without warrant

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WASHINGTON, DC (WBTV) -

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that police officers will now need a warrant to search a cell phone.

The court ruled 9-0, with many justices arguing that cell phones have evolved and are more than just small items in a pocket.

The news from Washington, D.C. is particularly troubling to Gaston County native Chris Burch. His grandmother, Lavon Ramsey, died in February after Belinda Hudspeth hit and killed her. Police say Hudspeth was texting while driving and under the influence of prescription drugs. 

"It's hard losing your grandmother to start with, but it's hard losing someone who stepped up when you were eight years old that became that mother figure in your life," Burch said.

Burch says the ruling is devastating to his family, because of the implications relating to texting while driving.

"To come back with a 9-0 decision, that's a shutout. It's not even close," said Charlotte defense attorney George Laughrun.

He says the ruling may be one of the most important decisions in recent history when it comes to your privacy.

"It would help the average driver who gets a texting while driving or talking on emails while driving, it would stop an officer I think from getting that cell phone," he said.

Burch says the ruling is a brick wall for officers just trying to stop what he calls a growing epidemic.

"If all nine members would have gone through what my family had gone through in these past four months there would have been a different ruling in that courtroom today," he said.

The Supreme Court ruled that imminent danger to life or the possibility that evidence would be destroyed are considered exceptions to the law.

Click here to read the full U.S. Supreme Court opinion.

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