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Little fallout expected from landmark ruling on cell phones and police in Michigan

Michigan police officers and defense attorneys don’t expect much to change in the state after a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a privacy case.

The nation’s highest court ruled that police need a warrant to search a criminal suspect’s mobile phone.

Mobile devices may contain evidence of a crime.  Butthe court feared police could access other personal information on the devices as well.

William Maze is the president of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. He says most police searches are conducted within the law.

“So the question really is, how prevalent are the unlawful searches? I really don’t think it’s that widespread in Michigan." Maze says.

Robert Stevenson is the executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.  He does not expect this is an issue in many criminal cases.

“Probably the bigger issue for police departments in any type of landmark case like this is that really the court is changing the rules of the game after the game’s already been played for us,” says Stevenson. 

Stevenson says law enforcement officers are used to adapting to changing interpretations of the law and will do so in this case as well.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.