New York State Appellate Court holds Riley v. California does not apply to opening of Defendant’s cell phone’s battery case.

In this case, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division was hearing the direct appeal where the issue was centered around the fact that law enforcement, without a warrant, opened the battery case of the defendant’s phone to look at the serial number for the phone.

The appellate court held that this search was limited to the fact of the Defendant’s ownership of the phone, and did not implicate any of the aspects found to distinguish a digital search from a search of any other physical object. The appellate court held that Riley v. California did not apply to this case, and thus refused to vacate the Defendant’s conviction.

The case is People v Ward, 169 A.D.3d 833, 93 N.Y.S.3d 440, 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1061. 2019 NY Slip Op 01107 , 2019 WL 575704 (February 13, 2019).

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