We live in a digital age. As technology advances, the law has struggled to keep up, which has created tension between law enforcement’s needs to investigate crimes and individuals’ constitutionally protected rights to privacy. One area where such tension continuously arises is with respect to law enforcement efforts to access information contained on cell phones.
Free speech is a right guaranteed to all citizens based on the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Over the years, tension has developed between individuals seeking to exercise their free speech rights and governments attempting to enforce laws and maintain peace. Oftentimes, people exercising their free speech rights find themselves arrested and subject to criminal charges. In such cases, the First Amendment may provide a defense to such charges. The United States Supreme Court is currently wrestling with these issues in Bartlett v. Nieves.
Most people have heard of someone “pleading the 5th” in connection with a criminal investigation. This right arises under the 5th Amendment, which prohibits someone for being prosecuted twice for the same alleged criminal activity. However, many people are not as familiar with the Separate Sovereigns Doctrine, which permits the same alleged criminal activity to be prosecuted by both a state court and a federal court.