Attempted Murder Conviction Affirmed Despite Questionable Cell Phone Search

State v. Robert Lee Moore

Appellant was convicted of attempted murder. The victim in this case was found shot in a Taco Bell parking lot. Officers who responded to the scene searched the victim’s car and found several cell phones, one of which belonged to the defendant. An investigating officer removed the SIM card from the defendant’s phone in order to determine the telephone number associated with the phone. This information led police to the defendant. The investigator later got a search warrant for the phone, and a more thorough search of the phone’s data was conducted.

Appellant moved to suppress the fruits of the SIM card search, and was denied. On appeal, he argues that the SIM card search violated his Fourth Amendment rights, and that the subsequent search warrant was insufficient because it was conclusory. The COA rejects both of these arguments. As to the SIM card search, the Court likened this case to two cases decided in Georgia and in the Fourth Circuit, both of which rejected the notion that a phone’s number is subject to Fourth Amendment protections. The court further holds that the warrant affidavit was sufficient, and not conclusory.

Read the full opinion here.

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