The United States Supreme Court ruled last week that law enforcement generally must have a warrant in order to search the contents of cell phones. Backers of Amendment 9 that appears on next month’s ballot in Missouri say that ruling illustrates the need for it to pass. It would protect all electronic data from unwarranted search and seizure.
“It lends further credibility to the fact that this is an issue that we need to codify within the Constitution in order to get protection from the state government,” says Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific), “and it also helps because it gives our courts parameters to work with.”
Curtman says Amendment 9 goes farther than the Court did.
“(The case decided by the Supreme Court) Riley v. California really focuses a lot more on … law enforcement’s jurisdiction with our smart phones,” says Curtman. “Our bill says electronic communications and data, and I think that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy even when they upload things into a secure cloud that only they would have access to, and that certainly isn’t just smartphones.”
Curtman says having those protections in the state’s Constitution also means they will be well-defined for the future.
“Courts change their opinions and definitions over time,” Curtman says, “so by having this in the Constitution it’ll help for the longevity of what it is that we’re trying to do.