2012 Law Review Symposium on U.S. v. Jones
Monday, March 26, 2012
Posted by: Max Rodriguez
On March 23, 2012, UDC-DCSL held a Law Review Symposium titled, "Smartphones and the 4th Amendment: The Future of Privacy in Our Hands.” The event focused on Fourth Amendment expectations of privacy and how they have been affected by innovations in technology such as the smartphone, the Internet and GPS tracking, and the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Jones (2011).
In the first panel on smartphones and the 4th Amendment, Dr. Saby Ghoshray, President of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the court has trampled on the privacy of individuals through warrantless searches of cell phones and hopes the Framers’ view of trespass (i.e., the right to be left alone) is extended to smartphones. Professor Margaret Lawton, an Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Charleston Law School, said that until the Supreme Court provides guidance to lower courts on how to apply the container doctrine to cell phones, cell phone contents can be searched with a lawful arrest.
Steve Leckar, who argued the landmark 4th Amendment case United States v. Jones before the United States Supreme Court in 2011, gave the keynote presentation. He told the audience to write to Congress to come up with new legislation to deal with privacy.
The second panel discussed "U.S. v. Jones: What Jones Means to the Future of the 4th Amendment.” Steve Leckar talked about the unanimous decision in United States v. Jones (2011), property trespass theory and mosaic theory. Professor Orin Kerr at George Washington Law School said the opinion in United States v. Jones (2011) was written quickly and said that Justice Scalia’s opinion is novel in that proponents of mosaic theory do not know its application. Professor Mary Cheh at George Washington Law School said she felt legislation should solve 4th Amendment issues from United States v. Jones (2011). Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel at the ACLU, said law enforcement must have a warrant to access location information and that people’s constitutional rights should not vary depending on the crime.