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Court Rules Police Needed Warrant To Search Cell Phone

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Saying the nature of information contained on a cell phone “sets it apart from other physical objects,” a South Florida appeals court has ruled that police needed a warrant before searching a phone that had been left behind in a stolen car.

A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge’s decision to suppress evidence obtained from an abandoned cell phone in a case involving a juvenile identified by the initials K.C.

The decision stemmed from an incident in which a Lauderhill police officer stopped a vehicle that was speeding and operating without headlights at night. Two people got out and fled, but the officer found a cell phone left behind in the vehicle, which later was determined to have been stolen in Sunrise.