Can a cop take a minor child’s phone and threaten them with going to jail to make the minor remove the password from it?

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Can a cop take a minor child’s phone and threaten them with going to jail to make the minor remove the password from it?

My son’s name came up in an investigation into pics of a minor female being passed around. An officer came to school and told my son he needed to take his phone. My son requested to call me to have me come take care of this. The

officer refused to let him call either his mom or I. My son was told if he did not give up the phone and remove the password he would forcibly remove the phone from his possession and he would be arrested for obstruction of justice, handcuffed and taken to jail. The school did not inform us of this and the police

only called us to say they had his phone and we would be required to sign a permission form so they could look through the phone. Is this legal? What about the 4th amendment? What rights do we have here?

Asked on March 16, 2016 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There are still search and seizure laws on the books which require real and effective consent.  You need to hire a criminal defense or civil rights attorney to call the agency, speak with this officer's captain, and then secure the return of the phone. Considering how odd this cop's behavior has been, do not sign anything until you have representation.  The document will most likely make it look as though your cooperation is voluntary, when in actuality, your family have been repeatedly threatened.


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