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Name: People v. Daggs
Case #: A107792
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/12/2005

Police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by removing the battery from a cell phone left at the scene of a robbery. The robbery occurred in a store, and the cell phone was found on a counter near the place where the suspect had been confronted by a store clerk. Police waited a week for someone to claim the cell phone, and then removed the battery to obtain its identification numbers. This information led police to the defendant. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, and the court of appeal affirmed. A search or retrieval of abandoned property does not implicate the Fourth Amendment. While the defendant might have initially dropped his cell phone inadvertently, with no intent to abandon it, he did make a conscious decision not to reclaim the phone. Thus, he did not take normal precautions to maintain his privacy interest in the phone, and the removal of the battery did not constitute an unlawful search.