What do the police in Florida do when they can not unlock a dead man's phone?
Reports indicate that using dead suspects' hands to unlock smart-devices is now becoming a popular tactic for USA investigators. The officers were trying to access and preserve data on the victim's phone as part of their investigation into his death and a separate inquiry on his alleged drug activities.
By the time the police got their hands on Phillip's smartphone, the man's body had already left state custody and got to the funeral home in Largo, Florida. However, the attempt was unsuccessful. He said officers found a significant amount of marijuana, crack cocaine and cash in Phillip's vehicle. Needless to say, Phillip's family is distraught with fiancé Victoria Armstrong telling the Times of how she felt "disrespected and violated" by the actions of the department.
Police officers in the city of Largo tried to gain access to the cellphone of the late Linus Phillip by pressing his digits against the fingerprint sensor.
Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, told the Tampa Bay Times that although dead people can't assert their Fourth Amendment protections because they're dead, those same rights may apply to whoever inherits the property.
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"The law has been most cruel, really unforgiving to a dead person", Nwabueze told the Times. Detectives believed a warrant was not needed because the suspect had little expectation of privacy, Chaney added.
The detectives have not been reprimanded for their use of Phillip's corpse.
Legal experts believe there is no need of a warrant to unlock a smartphone using the fingerprint scanner when the subject is deceased.
While such practices may at first seem to raise privacy issues, legal experts say that U.S. law dictates that the dead have no such rights.
The policemen were unable to access the phone by pressing the deceased man finger to the screen's unlock button.