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Oregon Warrantless Cell Phone Searches (with a side of fried (cellular) chips)


It’s not often you hear (read) the Oregon Court of Appeals split the infinitive and use the phrase fry the chip in the same sentence. (See below *)

(Yes, yes, we know that it is OK to split infinitives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little humor-mileage out of them when they pop up, so to speak, especially when frying chips.)

State v. Nix (A138483) (See also Court of Appeals Media Release dated 6/23/10)


The state appeals an order suppressing evidence discovered during a warrantless search of data contained in a cellular telephone that defendant possessed at the time of his arrest. ORS 138.060(1)(c). The state argues that the warrantless search was lawful either because of exigent circumstances or as a valid search incident to arrest. We review the trial court’s order for errors of law, State v. Ehly, 317 Or 66, 75, 854 P2d 421 (1993), and conclude that the search was valid as incident to defendant’s arrest. Accordingly, we reverse and remand….” (Link to full case.)

* From State v. Nix:….Another concern was that defendant could call his service provider while in jail and direct it to remotely “fry the chip” in his cellular telephone, erasing all of the information stored on the telephone or otherwise preventing the information from being accessed….”

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