California Gov. Jerry Brown veto allows warrantless cellphone searches

“California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest,” David Kravets reports for Wired.

“The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled,” Kravets reports. “Brown’s veto message abdicated responsibility for protecting the rights of Californians and ignored calls from civil liberties groups and this publication to sign the bill — saying only that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about. He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest.”

Kravets reports, “Because of that January ruling from the state’s high court, the California Legislature passed legislation to undo it — meaning Brown is taking the side of the Supreme Court’s seven justices instead of the state Legislature. The Assembly approved the bill 70-0 and the state Senate, 32-4.”

“Brown’s veto also shores up support with police unions and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a police union that opposed the legislation and recently donated $38,900 to Brown’s campaign coffers,” Kravets reports. “‘Restricting the authority of a peace officer to search an arrestee unduly restricts their ability to apply the law, fight crime, discover evidence valuable to an investigation and protect the citizens of California,’ the association said in a message. That support would be key if Brown decides to seek a second term.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


    1. You do recall warrantless wiretaps performed during the Bush administration, not just in California, right? This is a systemic problem of the erosion of privacy rights that isn’t particularly immune to party lines.

      1. Right, it is inevitable with government. This is why you cannot have government providing “justice”.

        Where are the prosecutors in all this? They should be bringing up charges against those cops who search the phones under USC 18-242 which makes it a felony (when armed) to violate someone’s constitutional rights. The fourth amendment applies in california.

        But prosecutors will never prosecute government criminals because prosecutors are employed by the government. Thus government becomes increasingly criminal over time.

      2. I believe that was related to terrorism, not just for driving with a suspended license (which they could technically do).

        However, had The Governator allowed this, regardless of its merits or needs, the hissy-fits would be endless, and ‘Occupy Your Nerves’ would already be having a sh!t-in…..

        1. oh it occupies your nerves? funny- don;t you live in bumblefuk- absolutely removed altogether from any inconvenience these protests might cause to one’s commute or daily routine?

          Or is it just americans practicing their constitutional right to peacefully assemble that really gets your goat?

          1. Actually, it is listening to their stupid, incoherent, pointless and uninformed rants that annoy me….so I quit.

            Was it me not agreeing with them or excersising my constitutional right to freedom of speech that got your goat….and whooped it?

            1. So what exactly are you listening to? I just want to know how you came to be annoyed- forced to listen to.. what exactly?

              haha.. my simple sir- there was no goat for me to get. IMHO, if I get you to really discuss this and be honest, you might have to face a few facts about how you came to your conclusions and got “annoyed”.

              I wasn’t trying to quell your speech, in fact, ironically this escaped you, I was trying to get you to speak more.

              so put you little whoopee flag down and talk like an adult.

            2. Sounds like my complaints about the tea baggers. The difference is that the Occupy folks have grammatically correct protest signs.

              Personally, I think Brown is right that he shouldn’t be deciding this. I think I would feel the same way even if Arnold was the guy vetoing it.

            3. I never said I was forced. I was curious until I got my fill. And if you want someone to expound on a statement, why goad by insinuating closed-mindedness? No need to answer, we know why you do it.

              Tell you what, I’ll put the onus on you to find an understandable mission statement and link it.

              Not your interpretation or third party glamorization such as Lawrence O’Donnell, but something straight from the camel’s mouth. Or other end….

            4. Yet oddly, he gave no specifics, just slanted BS while accusing the right of doing the same thing.

              But did you feel all fuzzy and warm? (cause that’s what matters, and not the reality of what he is suggesting)

              And as far as Fox not airing it, would that be quid pro quo for the left’s treatment of Beck’s rally, Tea Party rallys, and Sarah Palin?

              Now, if you were to say ‘what does that matter?’, I would agree, news is news. But to me, the real news is not the disdain these Soros followers have for Wall Street (oh, the irony), but the fact that a majority of them supported Obama but see little of his complicity.

              He talks about ‘free market’ medical when there is no such thing. But just like a rat in a maze goes down different paths to find the right way, Big Medical is trying to constantly adjust to the maze of regulations, insurance, and laws in the form of lawsuits. You start shaping an industry too much, and the paths left open for exploring don’t always lead to where we would all like to go. So now the obvious answer is one path only, and that is pure Socialized government controlled health care. Let’s see where that works better than our current system (even with its flawed structure) in 10 years.

              Signing off from ‘bumblefuk’ for now (some of us have to go to work tomorrow), and sweet dreams with your Havana Nirvana DaVida, baby.

      3. What’s so funny about this is we have a 73 year old hippie governor so far to the left that you can hardly see him yet he supports the police. It’s all about the public employee’s unions. The teachers,firemen and cops all have such huge influence on the politicians. They have, by way of pensions,pay and benefits, bankrupt cities and states. And they want more. That’s where your tax dollars go. Unconscionable!

  1. I’m sure there will be app to debut (if it doesn’t already exist) that will allow you to wipe your phone faster than going to the settings and doing so. I’m guessing having cell phone pics of one’s children makes that person a terrorist these days.

    1. Jadis, I had the same thought. Although taking it one step further, with iCloud you could have an app that instantly wipes the iPhone. Then when the men in blue get back into their car you simply reconnect to your iCloud account.

      1. Not that I have top secret files or anything but they would still have no idea where to look for stuff with all the other stuff that I constantly ssh into my roots, I could always power down my tethered phone and that will keep em busy till my lawyer rips some new aholes

        1. G’head. Hack my phone.

          I’ve created a few “notes” on my iPhone outlining my plans to bomb a pine tree outside the White House fencing with a loaded pumpkin.

          Let’s see what ya got bitches.

  2. Given the margin with which the bill passed the Legislature, they’ll likely override his veto. But praus is correct concerning almost every politician, especially in Sacramento.

  3. I’m not a fan of this in any way, but many of you are reacting as though this removes the need for a warrant in all cases. It does not. Rather, it specifically requires an arrest be made. They still need a warrant to search the phone of a person who is not being arrested.

    1. Hmm, good point. I didn’t register that it was only on arrest. I’d hate to get pulled over for some traffic violation and have them take my phone then claim I was texting while driving or something. They would of course be too stupid to know that Siri does hands free texts and I’d still have to go to court and waste my time because of it.

  4. ok. This could be useful for getting evidence. But one question: what if the suspect deletes their e-mails, SMS and call records? How are you supose to gather evidence?

    I normally delete my read e mails so that I don’t have like 500-900 messages that I’ve already read and will never look at again sitting in my inbox taking up space.

    1. I would suggest that you are in a very small minority. Practically everyone I know (certainly everyone I work with) either deletes nothing, or deletes only commercial messages (subscriptions, discount offers, etc), while keeping anything even remotely personal (including bank statements, alerts, etc).

      The two political sides will immediately jump at each other’s throats here, but the reality is that this is NOT a significant issue. Yes, it is related to some civil rights, vs. reasonable expectations. But all in all, it is rather minor, and as such, great food for political score settling.

  5. My personal opinion is that, while the veto may show some trends that, if continued, at some point in the future may be troubling, right now, it affects nobody. In order to make an arrest, law enforcement must have a very good reason (otherwise, they’re exposed to lawsuits, of course). That very good reason is suspicion of some criminal doing (misdemeanors usually don’t cause arrests). In other words, you won’t get arrested just for running a red light on a rather quiet intersection, but you may if, after cop pulls you over for running that red light, he discovers a sizeable bag of marijuana or cocaine in your glove box.

    So, if you get arrested, this veto allows cops to search your phone. Otherwise, they cannot.

  6. I’m not sure of what stage in California’s legislative process that Brown’s veto came. But with seemingly overwhelming support of the bill by California’s Assembly, doesn’t California constitution give the Assembly the power to override Brown’s veto with a supermajority vote?

    1. I’m pretty sure thats how veto is supposed to work. One guy in power can stop it all if he doesn’t think it was done right or covers enough or any other number of reasons. This doesn’t mean it’s vetoed for ever, it just means they have to try again and hopefully change whatever wording needs chaining or whatever else needs to be done to get it through.

  7. It is really too bad that the governor said he did not know enough to sign it, what with it being at odds with the supreme court. Quite different from all the judicial experts posting here. Seems we have more lawyers on this forum than you could find in a courthouse. Lots of paranoia on this site I say.

    1. or you might just be wishful thinking keeping your head in the sand hoping things don’t get fuk’d up… so obviously everyone must be paranoid. fantasy land will last forever no matter what, right?

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