NJ Justices Say Cops Can Force Cellphone Access

Law360 (August 10, 2020, 4:13 PM EDT) -- A split New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that law enforcement may compel the cellphone passcodes of a former sheriff's officer accused of tipping off a suspect in a drug trafficking investigation, reasoning that such information isn't shielded by constitutional protections against self-incrimination.

The Fifth Amendment applies only to testimonial communications that would be incriminating, and a series of characters don't amount to substantive information, Justice Lee M. Solomon wrote in a majority opinion joined by Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner and Justices Anne M. Patterson and Faustino Fernandez-Vina. The justices acknowledged that the closely watched case presented a matter of...

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