After a fatal shooting in March, detectives in Florida have used unconventional methods to retrieve information from a man’s phone.
The man, Linus F. Phillip was fatally shot by an officer while he fled from police in his car, dragging a cop with him. Detectives went to a funeral home in Clearwater, where they used his hand to attempt to unlock his phone and analyse data on the phone in the investigation to separate information that he may have been involved with drugs.
The method however, didn’t go down so well. Phillip’s fiance, Victoria Armstrong opened up to Tampa Bay Times, saying that the ordeal made her feel “so disrespected and violated”. She mentioned that she was at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home when to detectives entered to view Phillip’s body. “Nobody even called us from the facility to let us know detectives were coming,” Armstrong said. “I’m very skeptical of all funeral homes now.”
They were not successful in unlocking the phone.
“The law has been most cruel, really unforgiving to a dead person,” said Southampton Law School associate professor Remigius Nwabueze to the Times. “It provides no entitlement or legal rights after death to a deceased person.” While the move by the detectives was technically legal, Phillip’s family said it was disrespectful.
Lt. Randall Chaney, said no warrant was needed as the Fifth Amendment does not protect the deceased. He also admitted that this method had not been tried before.