Conn Kavanaugh attorneys Carol A. Starkey and J.P. Christian Milde have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a Massachusetts case that endangers cell phone privacy and Fourth Amendment rights according to civil liberties advocates. In June, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided that a text message’s sender cannot challenge an unconstitutional search of the recipient’s cell phone—a ruling opposed by the Massachusetts ACLU and the state’s public defender agency, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, among others. The decision, Commonwealth v. Delgado-Rivera, 487 Mass. 551 (2021), allows information from unlawful police searches of cell phones to be used to prosecute anyone except a phone’s owner. As a result, officers may now be incentivized to search cell phones without a warrant, something that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found unconstitutional in 2014. Following the Massachusetts ruling, advocates worry that stop and frisk could now become “stop and scroll,” with officers motivated to search the messages of anyone that they stop.
Because of the matter’s significant implications for constitutional rights and digital privacy, Attorneys Starkey and Milde are handling this petition pro bono. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must decide whether to oppose Supreme Court review of the Massachusetts ruling by January 6, 2022.
If you would like to interview Attorney Starkey about the case, please contact Christina Lamb, Conn Kavanaugh’s Director of Marketing, at CLamb@connkavanaugh.com or (617) 348-8218.Share with your network: