upnorth

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What started as a routine traffic stop has quickly escalated into a civil rights case in a Florida courtroom after a man was put behind bars this week for failing to unlock his phone. William Montanez was given 180 days in jail by a judge after he was asked to unlock two separate phones seized from him by police. Montanez told the court that he couldn’t remember the passwords, so the judge found him in civil contempt and threw him in jail, according to Fox 13 News in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The strangest part about Montanez’s predicament is that it started with a traffic stop. According to an emergency writ filed by Montanez’s lawyer, he was pulled over by police on June 21 for not properly yielding while pulling out of a driveway. The officers making the stop asked to search his car, which he refused, so the police brought in a drug-sniffing dog. It’s worth noting that the emergency writ says the canine unit was contacted before police spoke to Montanez during the stop, which seems a bit suspicious. In 2015, the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Rodriguez v. United States made clear that police are not to turn traffic stops into investigations of other possible infractions. Police have to have reason to believe another crime has been committed in order to investigate further, and refusing to allow law enforcement to search your car is not a valid reason for suspicion. The dog discovered small amounts of weed (about 4.5 grams) and THC oil, which Montanez admitted belonged to him. The police also found a concealed handgun, which supposedly belonged to his mom, and two cellphones. When law enforcement asked Montanez to unlock the phones—apparently after seeing a text message that read “OMG did they find it” on the screen—he denied the request. The police got a search warrant for the devices, claiming that they contain evidence of “Possession of Cannabis Less Than 20 grams” and “Possession of Drug Paraphernalia”—both of which Montanez already admitted to, which makes it unclear why the cops still want to search the phone to prove the charges.
“If they arrest you for anything — whether it’s drugs, guns, you name it — and an electronic device is nearby, they can get a search warrant and search it. And if you don’t provide that information to search it, to unlock, because you want to keep the information private, we’ll put you in jail,” said Leduc ( Montanez’s lawyer ).
 

Weebarra

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So you can be jailed now for having a bad memory ;) I would spend most of my life in prison because i go upstairs to do/get something and by the time i get up there, i have forgotten what i went up for so i wouldn't stand a chance of remembering passwords
Free @Weebarra, she is innocent your honour :)
 

SumTingWong

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So you can be jailed now for having a bad memory ;) I would spend most of my life in prison because i go upstairs to do/get something and by the time i get up there, i have forgotten what i went up for so i wouldn't stand a chance of remembering passwords
Free @Weebarra, she is innocent your honour :)
You don't know what prison feels like. You will get your butt kick and beat up every single single day.
 

Slyguy

Level 40
The police would lose a basic challenge to this. Largely because they exhibited per-determined assumptions of guilt before actually conducting a stop, which likely indicates the initial reason for the stop was largely contrived.

Calling a canine unit before pulling a person over and speaking to them indicates a predetermination. Which police are prohibited from doing.

The case should all be tossed out.
 

Thales

Level 4
Interesting story.
I'm gonna disable the biometric and install something that wipes the phone after 3 failed attempts. (Android)
My phone is always ready for a factory reset, so doesn't matter but in that case I will have that function. Even if you are innocent you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

BigWrench

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The police would lose a basic challenge to this. Largely because they exhibited per-determined assumptions of guilt before actually conducting a stop, which likely indicates the initial reason for the stop was largely contrived.

Calling a canine unit before pulling a person over and speaking to them indicates a predetermination. Which police are prohibited from doing.

The case should all be tossed out.
Should be? I'll bet it is tossed out.
 

upnorth

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And the appeal process would look like? Or is it actually possible in this case as I think I saw the word parole in those pdfs but I could be wrong.
 
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Great, I do know not my password to any webpage. I use 100+ characters long passwords. If they would ask me, I would have to say, no idea. :giggle:
100+ character passwords is absolutely ridiculous.

I'm thinking (hoping) a false imprisonment suit is in the works........:emoji_thinking:
Not based upon the individual refusing to unlock his phone. One cannot refuse to provide evidence against oneself here in the U.S. One can refuse to provide self-incriminating testimony (which is not the same as physical\digital evidence).

If the case is thrown out, it will be because a judge determines that the police used the traffic stop to initiate an investigation before there was suspicion to do so.

All this stuff regarding breaking into cell phones just doesn't seem right. I wouldn't want anyone going threw my stuff whether I'm hiding something or not.
In the U.S., the government doesn't even need a search warrant to break into an internet connected PC\tablet; they are permitted to hack it.

This is a total disregard for oneselves right to privacy, dependant on the severity of the offence(s) committed. I see this as a bad result for that could happen at future precedences.
There is a reasonable expectation of privacy - such as when you are in the bathroom and in your bedroom - but not if you are committing a crime in those locations\circumstances.

In the U.S., there is no such thing as mandated digital privacy entitlement except in the case of some specific laws\regulations - mostly involving health\medical records. And whatever laws there are that protect peoples' privacy are slowly but surely being revised to take into account the digital world -- which means less and less privacy by law.

The police would lose a basic challenge to this. Largely because they exhibited per-determined assumptions of guilt before actually conducting a stop, which likely indicates the initial reason for the stop was largely contrived.

Calling a canine unit before pulling a person over and speaking to them indicates a predetermination. Which police are prohibited from doing.

The case should all be tossed out.
Under U.S. law, the guy is still in contempt of court - whether the case is thrown out or not. Contempt of court is a separate violation. A court order arises as part of a case, but its violation is independent of the case. He can serve the full 180 days unless he unlocks the phones.

That the police might have went on an illegal fishing expedition also does not automatically negate the contempt of court violation. The bottom line is that you have to obey the Judge's orders or else suffer the consequences. There are no protections that permit one to violate a court order (disobey a Judge).

All that being said, it's up to the court's discretion (Judge) as to what it will do.

So you can be jailed now for having a bad memory ;) I would spend most of my life in prison because i go upstairs to do/get something and by the time i get up there, i have forgotten what i went up for so i wouldn't stand a chance of remembering passwords
Free @Weebarra, she is innocent your honour :)
The defendant used a contrived answer that common sense dictates is a lie. Lying in court is a criminal act in and of itself.

Interesting story.
I'm gonna disable the biometric and install something that wipes the phone after 3 failed attempts. (Android)
My phone is always ready for a factory reset, so doesn't matter but in that case I will have that function. Even if you are innocent you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That's stupid. For one the probability is very high that no one is trying to access your phone. And secondly you will needlessly wipe your phone if you ever forget the password.

Should be? I'll bet it is tossed out.
The guy is still in violation of a court order (the Judge's demand that he unlock the phones) and that court order is entirely independent of the criminal charges.. Dismissal of the case doesn't mean a thing... the guy is going to serve the time.
 
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