In Fourth Amendment decisions, different concepts, facts and assumptions about reality are often tethered together in judicial decisions, creating a Stickiness Principle. In particular, form and function historically were viewed as an identity, not a dichotomy. For example, containers carried things, watches told time, and telephones were used to make voice calls. Advancing technology, though, began to fracture this identity and the broader Stickiness Principle.
In June 2014, Riley v. California and its companion case, United States v. Wurie, offered the Supreme Court an opportunity to begin untethering form and function and dismantling the Stickiness Principle. Riley presented the question of whether cell phone searches incident to a lawful arrest were constitutional. The Court, which had clung to pre-digital concepts such as physical trespass well into the 21st Century, appeared ready to explore how technology is reshaping historically understood conceptions of privacy. From a broader perspective, the case offers an initial step in reconciling pre-digital rules based on outdated spatial conceptions of physical things with the changing realities of a technology driven world.
- cell phone searches
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven_friedland/12/