The warrant authorized the seizure of “any or all files” contained on the cell phone and its memory card that “constitute[d] evidence of the offense of [Public Indecency 720 ILCS 5/11–30],” including, but not limited to, the calendar, phonebook, contacts, SMS messages, MMS messages, emails, pictures, videos, images, ringtones, audio files, all call logs, installed application data, GPS information, WIFI information, internet history and usage, any system files, and any delated data (Docs.22–2, 22–3).
The major, overriding problem with the description of the object of the search—“any or all files”—is that the police did not have probable cause to believe that everything on the phone was evidence of the crime of public indecency. The description was a template used by the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office for all cell phone searches. Templates are, of course, fine to use as a starting point. But they must be tailored to the facts of each case. This particular template authorized the seizure of virtually every piece of data that could conceivably be found on the phone. The Supreme Court put the scope of such a wholesale seizure in perspective by explaining that it “would typically expose the government to far more than the most exhaustive search of a house.” Riley v. California, 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2491 (2014) (emphasis in original). Obviously, the police will not have probable cause to search through and seize such an expansive array of data every time they search a cell phone. And, in the case of a misdemeanor crime, it is difficult to fathom why the police would ever need, or have probable cause, to do so. That certainly holds true in the instant case.
Based on the complaint supporting the search warrant, there was probable cause to believe that only two categories of data could possibly be evidence of the crime: photos and videos (see Doc. 22–2). The complaint did not offer any basis—such as facts learned during the investigation or Detective Lambert’s training and expertise—to believe that the calendar, phonebook, contacts, SMS messages, MMS messages, emails, ringtones, audio files, all call logs, installed application data, GPS information, WIFI information, internet history and usage, or system files were connected with Winn’s act of public indecency. In fact, the narrative portion of the complaint did not even mention those categories of data. Furthermore, Detective Lambert admitted at the hearing that he had no reason to believe much of that data contained evidence of the crime of public indecency.
. . . The bottom line is that if Detective Lambert wanted to seize every type of data from the cell phone, then it was incumbent upon him to explain in the complaint how and why each type of data was connected to Winn’s criminal activity, and he did not do so. Consequently, the warrant was overbroad, because it allowed the police to search for and seize broad swaths of data without probable cause to believe it constituted evidence of public indecency.