California Supreme Court Limits Police Searches

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has limited police power to conduct searches.

The court issued its ruling Monday in a case involving a search conducted before an arrest.

In a unanimous ruling, the court says police may be able to conduct a search before making an arrest only if they have probable cause to make that arrest in the first place.

The case stems from a 2012 traffic stop in Torrance of bicycle rider Paul Macabeo. Police did not place Macabeo under arrest until they searched his cellphone and said they found child pornography on it.

The court said police could not have arrested Macabeo for the traffic violation. Because they had no probable cause to arrest him for something else, the subsequent search was unlawful.