January 27, 2015 Articles

2014: Noteworthy Cases in Review

A roundup of some of the year's most important rulings.

By Stella Kim

The Supreme Court denies certiorari in state same-sex marriage cases.

On October 6, 2014, the Court denied review of seven petitions arising from challenges to state bans on same-sex marriages. This allowed the lower court rulings to stand in several federal circuit courts and invalidated several state bans. But that did not stop the Sixth Circuit from making a split among the circuits on the issue in DeBoer v. Snyder, 973 F. Supp. 2d 757 (2014), on November 6, 2014. The Sixth Circuit upheld same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The case, which was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court, will be an interesting case to follow this year.

Police may not obtain digital information on a cell phone seized without a warrant from an individual who has been arrested.

On June 25, 2014, in Riley v. California,134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014), the Supreme Court unanimously voted that a warrant is required to search a mobile phone. This ruling bases itself from Chimel v. California, in 1969, the landmark case in which the police, while making arrest, were not allowed to search a person’s home without a search warrant. The Riley ruling updates the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourth and Fifth amendments and a citizen’s right to privacy, which did not exist for digital data.

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