Decision Commonwealth v. Mauricio

Date: 08/14/2017
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Table of Contents

Commonwealth v. Mauricio

Commonwealth v. Kevin Mauricio
Supreme Judicial Court, August 14, 2017
(Search and Seizure/Digital Camera) 

The Court holds that digital cameras may be seized incident to arrest, however, the search of data contained in digital cameras falls outside the scope of the search incident to arrest doctrine. In reaching this conclusion, the two justifications for search incident to arrest are mitigated because the camera was secure in the custody of the police and the officers had the opportunity to obtain a search warrant. 

The search of the camera was also found to be investigative in nature, and not an inventory search, as the police officer’s objective in viewing the stored images was to identify the owner. The Court applies the reasoning in Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014) in holding that the search of the camera violated art. 14. The Court declines to address the constitutionality on Fourth Amendment grounds.