That’s the question addressed recently by a Texas Court of Appeals. The Court upheld the district court’s suppression of photos obtained when police searched a young man’s cell phone without a warrant while he was being held in jail on a very minor misdemeanor offense. The State appealed, arguing that since the phone was in the property locker at the jail, the search was no different than if the officer had looked at the man’s clothing from the same locker. The Amarillo Court of Appeals disagreed:
While assaults upon the Fourth Amendment and article I, § 9 of the United States and Texas Constitutions regularly occur, the one rebuffed by the trial court here is sustained. A cell phone is not a pair of pants.
[The opinion also includes a great reference to Captain Kirk for all you Trekkies out there.]
State v. Granville, No. 07-11-0415-CR (Tex.App.-- Amarillo 2012).
H/T Paul Kennedy at The Defense Rests