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SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that police do not need a warrant to search a cell phone carried by someone under arrest.
The justices determined a Ventura County deputy had the right to conduct a warrantless search of the text messages of a man he had arrested on suspicion of participating in a drug deal.
The state court ruled 5-2 that U.S. Supreme Court precedent affirms that police can search items found on defendants when they are arrested.
The California Supreme Court decided the loss of privacy upon arrest extends beyond the arrestee's body to include personal property.
Authorities can not only seize items but also can open and examine what they find, the ruling said.