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SCOW to address important cell phone search issues

State v. George Steven Burch, 2019AP404-CR, certification granted 11/18/20; case activity (including briefs)

Issues presented (from the certification):

Did police violate Burch’s Fourth Amendment rights by:

  1. exceeding the scope of Burch’s consent to search his cell phone by downloading the phone’s entire contents, rather than only the text messages;
  2. unlawfully retaining the entire cell phone download after it completed its initial investigation and closing the case without charging Burch; and
  3. unlawfully conducting a second search of the cell phone download months after closing the initial investigation.

As the certification says, this case “raise[s] novel questions regarding the application of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence to the vast array of digital information contained in modern cell phones….”  For more detail, see our post on the certification, and stay tuned for what could be an important decision with broad implications.

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