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On each of the four sides was a great arc light which rose above the prison wall and gave to the guards a clear sight. The lights, too, brightly illuminated the spiked top of the wall. The wires which fed the arc lights ran up the side of the prison building on insulators and from the top story led out to the poles supporting the arc lights.

All these things were seen and comprehended by The Thinking Machine, who was only enabled to see out his closely barred cell window by standing on his bed. This was on the morning following his incarceration. He gathered, too, that the river lay over there beyond the wall somewhere, because he heard faintly the pulsation of a motor boat and high up in the air saw a river bird. From that same direction came the shouts of boys at play and the occasional crack of a batted ball.

He knew then that between the prison wall and the river was an open space, a playground. Chisholm Prison was regarded as absolutely safe. No man had ever escaped from it. The Thinking Machine, from his perch on the bed, seeing what he saw, could readily understand why. The walls of the cell, though built he judged twenty years before, were perfectly solid, and the window bars of new iron had not a shadow of rust on them.

The window itself, even with the bars out, would be a difficult mode of egress because it was small. Yet, seeing these things, The Thinking Machine was not discouraged. Instead, he thoughtfully squinted at the great arc light -- there was bright sunlight now -- and traced with his eyes the wire which led from it to the building. That electric wire, he reasoned, must come down the side of the building not a great distance from his cell. That might be worth knowing. Cell 13 was on the same floor with the offices of the prison -- that is, not in the basement, nor yet upstairs.

There were only four steps up to the office floor, therefore the level of the floor must be only three or four feet above the ground. He couldn't see the ground directly beneath his window, but he could see it further out toward the wall. It would be an easy drop from the window. Well and good.

Then The Thinking Machine fell to remembering how he had come to the cell. First, there was the outside guard's booth, a part of the wall. There were two heavily barred gates there, both of steel. At this gate was one man always on guard. He admitted persons to the prison after much clanking of keys and locks, and let them out when ordered to do so. The warden's office was in the prison building, and in order to reach that official from the prison yard one had to pass a gate of solid steel with only a peep-hole in it.

Then coming from that inner office to Cell 13, where he was now, one must pass a heavy wooden door and two steel doors into the corridors of the prison; and always there was the double-locked door of Cell 13 to reckon with. There were then, The Thinking Machine recalled, seven doors to be overcome before one could pass from Cell 13 into the outer world, a free man. But against this was the fact that he was rarely interrupted. A jailer appeared at his cell door at six in the morning with a breakfast of prison fare; he would come again at noon, and again at six in the afternoon.

At nine o'clock at night would come the inspection tour. That would be all. I had no idea there was such great care exercised in the prisons.

Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ___ (2014)

He had neither of these. There was not even a chair, or a small table, or a bit of tin or crockery. The jailer stood by when he ate, then took away the wooden spoon and bowl which he had used. One by one these things sank into the brain of The Thinking Machine. When the last possibility had been considered he began an examination of his cell. From the roof, down the walls on all sides, he examined the stones and the cement between them.

He stamped over the floor carefully time after time, but it was cement, perfectly solid. After the examination he sat on the edge of the iron bed and was lost in thought for a long time. For Professor Augustus S. Van Dusen, The Thinking Machine, had something to think about. He was disturbed by a rat, which ran across his foot, then scampered away into a dark corner of the cell, frightened at its own daring. After awhile The Thinking Machine, squinting steadily into the darkness of the corner where the rat had gone, was able to make out in the gloom many little beady eyes staring at him.

He counted six pair, and there were perhaps others; he didn't see very well. Then The Thinking Machine, from his seat on the bed, noticed for the first time the bottom of his cell door. There was an opening there of two inches between the steel bar and the floor. Still looking steadily at this opening, The Thinking Machine backed suddenly into the corner where he had seen the beady eyes.

There was a great scampering of tiny feet, several squeaks of frightened rodents, and then silence. None of the rats had gone out the door, yet there were none in the cell. Therefore there must be another way out of the cell, however small. The Thinking Machine, on hands and knees, started a search for this spot, feeling in the darkness with his long, slender fingers. At last his search was rewarded.

He came upon a small opening in the floor, level with the cement. It was perfectly round and somewhat larger than a silver dollar. This was the way the rats had gone. He put his fingers deep into the opening; it seemed to be a disused drainage pipe and was dry and dusty. Having satisfied himself on this point, he sat on the bed again for an hour, then made another inspection of his surroundings through the small cell window. One of the outside guards stood directly opposite, beside the wall, and happened to be looking at the window of Cell 13 when the head of The Thinking Machine appeared.

But the scientist didn't notice the guard. Noon came and the jailer appeared with the prison dinner of repulsively plain food. At home The Thinking Machine merely ate to live; here he took what was offered without comment. Occasionally he spoke to the jailer who stood outside the door watching him.

The boys have a baseball ground between the wall and the river. Half an hour later he returned with water in a small earthen bowl. If it is broken, it will be the last. For just the fraction of a second it seemed that The Thinking Machine wanted to ask a question, but he didn't. Two hours later this same jailer, in passing the door of Cell No. The Thinking Machine was down on his hands and knees in a corner of the cell, and from that same corner came several frightened squeaks.

The jailer looked on interestedly. The prisoner brought it over to the light and looked at it closely. There are dozens more where it came from. It gave one squeak and lay still. Later he reported the incident to the warden, who only smiled. Still later that afternoon the outside armed guard on Cell 13 side of the prison looked up again at the window and saw the prisoner looking out. He saw a hand raised to the barred window and then something white fluttered to the ground, directly under the window of Cell It was a little roll of linen, evidently of white shirting material, and tied around it was a five-dollar bill.

The guard looked up at the window again, but the face had disappeared. With a grim smile he took the little linen roll and the five-dollar bill to the warden's office. There together they deciphered something which was written on it with a queer sort of ink, frequently blurred. On the outside was this: "Finder of this please deliver to Dr. Charles Ransome. The warden looked at the guard and the guard looked at the warden. There was no apparent solution of that mystery. The warden studied the writing carefully, then shook his head. Ransome," he said at length, still puzzled, and he unrolled the inner piece of linen.

The guard took the bit of linen and read this: "Epa cseot d'net niiy awe htto n'si sih. The warden spent an hour wondering what sort of a cipher it was, and half an hour wondering why his prisoner should attempt to communicate with Dr. Ransome, who was the cause of him being there. After this the warden devoted some thought to the question of where the prisoner got writing materials. With the idea of illuminating this point, he examined the linen again.

It was a torn part of a white shirt and had ragged edges. Now it was possible to account for the linen, but what the prisoner had used to write with was another matter. The warden knew it would have been impossible for him to have either pen or pencil, and, besides, neither pen nor pencil had been used in this writing. What, then? The warden decided to personally investigate. The Thinking Machine was his prisoner; he had orders to hold his prisoners; if this one sought to escape by sending cipher messages to persons outside, he would stop it, as he would have stopped it in the case of any other prisoner.

The warden went back to Cell 13 and found The Thinking Machine on his hands and knees on the floor, engaged in nothing more alarming than catching rats. The prisoner heard the warden's step and turned to him quickly. There are scores of them. His tone was hardly natural, his manner suggested actual perturbation. Ransome," said the warden severely. The prisoner arose from the floor and removed the white shirt, putting on instead a striped convict shirt the warden had brought. The warden took the white shirt eagerly, and then there compared the pieces of linen on which was written the cipher with certain torn places in the shirt.

The Thinking Machine looked on curiously. The warden started to say some harsh things, then restrained himself and made a minute search of the cell and of the prisoner instead. He found absolutely nothing; not even a match or toothpick which might have been used for a pen.

The same mystery surrounded the fluid with which the cipher had been written. Although the warden left Cell 13 visibly annoyed, he took the torn shirt in triumph.

Early Impossible Crime Fiction - by Michael E. Grost

He put the linen scraps into his desk to await developments. The jailer had brought his dinner and was leaning against the barred door, waiting, when The Thinking Machine began the conversation. There was silence until The Thinking Machine finished his meal. Then: "You know I'm not a criminal, don't you? Then he turned back. You'd have to pass through seven doors, and I only have the keys to two.

It stopped at the sound of his steps, then craftily the jailer, who was beyond the prisoner's range of vision, resumed his tramping, the sound being apparently that of a man going away from Cell As a matter of fact he was in the same spot. After a moment there came again the steady scrape, scrape, and the jailer crept cautiously on tiptoes to the door and peered between the bars. The Thinking Machine was standing on the iron bed working at the bars of the little window. He was using a file, judging from the backward and forward swing of his arms.

Cautiously the jailer crept back to the office, summoned the warden in person, and they returned to Cell 13 on tiptoes. The steady scrape was still audible. The warden listened to satisfy himself and then suddenly appeared at the door. The Thinking Machine glanced back from his perch on the bed and leaped suddenly to the floor, making frantic efforts to hide something. The warden went in, with hand extended.

The Thinking Machine was silent and stood squinting at the warden with something very nearly approaching disappointment on his face -- nearly, but not quite. The warden was almost sympathetic. The jailer searched the prisoner carefully. At last, artfully concealed in the waist band of the trousers, he found a piece of steel about two inches long, with one side curved like a half moon.

The jailer continued his search and on the other side of the trousers waist band found another piece of steel identical with the first. The edges showed where they had been worn against the bars of the window. The warden shook his head slowly as he gazed into the slightly flushed face of his prisoner. Then came another exhaustive search of the cell. Carefully the two men went over it, finally turning out the bed and searching that. The warden in person climbed upon the bed and examined the bars of the window where the prisoner had been sawing. When he looked he was amused.

The warden grasped the iron bars in his strong hands and tried to shake them. They were immovable, set firmly in the solid granite. He examined each in turn and found them all satisfactory. Finally he climbed down from the bed. The Thinking Machine shook his head and the warden and jailer passed on again. As they disappeared down the corridor The Thinking Machine sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. I would like to know what he wrote that cipher with.

It came from a cell somewhere about the center, and its tone told a tale of horror, agony, terrible fear. The warden heard and with three of his men rushed into the long corridor leading to Cell As they ran there came again that awful cry. It died away in a sort of wail. The white faces of prisoners appeared at cell doors upstairs and down, staring out wonderingly, frightened.

Fabian, Warner

He stopped and stared in as one of the jailers flashed a lantern. Even as they looked there came again the piercing cry, from somewhere above. The warden's face blanched a little as he started up the stairs. There on the top floor he found a man in Cell 43, directly above Cell 13, but two floors higher, cowering in a corner of his cell. He threw open the door and went in. The prisoner dropped on his knees and clasped the warden about the body.

His face was white with terror, his eyes were widely distended, and he was shuddering. His hands, icy cold, clutched at the warden's. Then, in a sudden burst of terror: "Take me out of this cell -- put me anywhere -- but take me out of here. What's he accused of?

Two English Thrillers

She died from it. Please put me in some other cell. Then for a time he stood looking at the cowering wretch, who seemed possessed of all the wild, unreasoning terror of a child. Now tell me. He was sobbing. Everywhere -- nowhere. I just heard it. I heard it. These requests were gruffly refused. Ballard sat at his cell door until daylight, his face, drawn and white with terror, pressed against the bars, and looked out into the prison with wide, staring eyes.

That day, the fourth since the incarceration of The Thinking Machine, was enlivened considerably by the volunteer prisoner, who spent most of his time at the little window of his cell.

Israel Zangwill

He began proceedings by throwing another piece of linen down to the guard, who picked it up dutifully and took it to the warden. On it was written: "Only three days more. But how was the thing written? Where had The Thinking Machine found this new piece of linen? He carefully examined the linen. It was white, of fine texture, shirting material. He took the shirt which he had taken and carefully fitted the two original pieces of the linen to the torn places. This third piece was entirely superfluous; it didn't fit anywhere, and yet it was unmistakably the same goods.

Still later on the fourth day The Thinking Machine, through the window of his cell, spoke to the armed guard outside. The Thinking Machine made a mental astronomical calculation and satisfied himself that the moon would not rise until after nine o'clock that night. Then he asked another question: "Who attends to those arc lights? The guard noticed The Thinking Machine at the cell window frequently during that day, but always the face seemed listless and there was a certain wistfulness in the squint eyes behind the glasses.

After a while he accepted the presence of the leonine head as a matter of course. He had seen other prisoners do the same thing; it was the longing for the outside world. That afternoon, just before the day guard was relieved, the head appeared at the window again, and The Thinking Machine's hand held something out between the bars. It fluttered to the ground and the guard picked it up.

It was a five-dollar bill. Jacques Futrelle was born in Georgia in After stints in newspaper reporting and theatrical managing in Richmond and New York, he and his wife May, also a writer, moved to Scituate, Massachusetts, which would remain their permanent home. While working on the editorial staff of the Boston American , he started in to publish his Thinking Machine detective stories.

They at first were run as week-long serials, with prizes given to readers who solved the mysteries. The swift popularity of the Thinking Machine stories at home and overseas led to Futrelle's brief but successful career as a detective story writer and novelist. Carrion, F. Watson, F. Lee, F. Brief for United States in No. That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon.

Both are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together. Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse. They could just as easily be called cameras, video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers.

One of the most notable distinguishing features of modern cell phones is their immense storage capacity. Before cell phones, a search of a person was limited by physical realities and tended as a general matter to constitute only a narrow intrusion on privacy. Most people cannot lug around every piece of mail they have received for the past several months, every picture they have taken, or every book or article they have read—nor would they have any reason to attempt to do so. And if they did, they would have to drag behind them a trunk of the sort held to require a search warrant in Chadwick, supra, rather than a container the size of the cigarette package in Robinson.

But the possible intrusion on privacy is not physically limited in the same way when it comes to cell phones. The current top-selling smart phone has a standard capacity of 16 gigabytes and is available with up to 64 gigabytes. Sixteen gigabytes translates to millions of pages of text, thousands of pictures, or hundreds of videos. Flores-Lopez, F. We expect that the gulf between physical practicability and digital capacity will only continue to widen in the future. The storage capacity of cell phones has several interrelated consequences for privacy. First, a cell phone collects in one place many distinct types of information—an address, a note, a prescription, a bank statement, a video—that reveal much more in combination than any isolated record.

Third, the data on a phone can date back to the purchase of the phone, or even earlier. A person might carry in his pocket a slip of paper reminding him to call Mr. Jones; he would not carry a record of all his communications with Mr. Jones for the past several months, as would routinely be kept on a phone.

Finally, there is an element of pervasiveness that characterizes cell phones but not physical records. Prior to the digital age, people did not typically carry a cache of sensitive personal information with them as they went about their day. Now it is the person who is not carrying a cell phone, with all that it contains, who is the exception. A decade ago police officers searching an arrestee might have occasionally stumbled across a highly personal item such as a diary.

Frankenberry, F. But those discoveries were likely to be few and far between. See Ontario v. Quon, U. Allowing the police to scrutinize such records on a routine basis is quite different from allowing them to search a personal item or two in the occasional case. Although the data stored on a cell phone is distinguished from physical records by quantity alone, certain types of data are also qualitatively different. Data on a cell phone can also reveal where a person has been.

Jones, U. There are apps for Democratic Party news and Republican Party news; apps for alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions; apps for sharing prayer requests; apps for tracking pregnancy symptoms; apps for planning your budget; apps for every conceivable hobby or pastime; apps for improving your romantic life. There are popular apps for buying or selling just about anything, and the records of such transactions may be accessible on the phone indefinitely. Kirschenblatt, 16 F. If his pockets contain a cell phone, however, that is no longer true. Indeed, a cell phone search would typically expose to the government far more than the most exhaustive search of a house: A phone not only contains in digital form many sensitive records previ-ously found in the home; it also contains a broad array of private information never found in a home in any form—unless the phone is.

To further complicate the scope of the privacy interests at stake, the data a user views on many modern cell phones may not in fact be stored on the device itself. Treating a cell phone as a container whose contents may be searched incident to an arrest is a bit strained as an initial matter. See New York v. Belton, U.

But the analogy crumbles entirely when a cell phone is used to access data located elsewhere, at the tap of a screen. Cell phone users often may not know whether particular information is stored on the device or in the cloud, and it generally makes little difference. Moreover, the same type of data may be stored locally on the device for one user and in the cloud for another. The United States concedes that the search incident to arrest exception may not be stretched to cover a search of files accessed remotely—that is, a search of files stored in the cloud. See Brief for United States in No.

Although the Government recognizes the problem, its proposed solutions are unclear. It suggests that officers could disconnect a phone from the network before searching the device—the very solution whose feasibility it contested with respect to the threat of remote wiping. Compare Tr. Reply Brief in No. Probably a good idea, but the Founders did not fight a revolution to gain the right to government agency protocols. The possibility that a search might extend well beyond papers and effects in the physical proximity of an arrestee is yet another reason that the privacy interests here dwarf those in Robinson.

Apart from their arguments for a direct extension of Robinson, the United States and California offer various fallback options for permitting warrantless cell phone searches under certain circumstances. Each of the proposals is flawed and contravenes our general preference to provide clear guidance to law enforcement through categorical rules. New York, U. For reasons that we have explained, cell phone searches bear neither of those characteristics.

At any rate, a Gant standard would prove no practical limit at all when it comes to cell phone searches. In the vehicle context, Gant generally protects against searches for evidence of past crimes.

In the cell phone context, however, it is reasonable to expect that incriminating information will be found on a phone regardless of when the crime occurred. Similarly, in the vehicle context Gant restricts broad searches resulting from minor crimes such as traffic violations. That would not necessarily be true for cell phones. It would be a particularly inexperienced or unimaginative law enforcement officer who could not come up with sev-eral reasons to suppose evidence of just about any crime could be found on a cell phone. Even an individual pulled over for something as basic as speeding might well have locational data dispositive of guilt on his phone.

An individual pulled over for reckless driving might have evidence on the phone that shows whether he was texting while driving. This approach would again impose few meaningful constraints on officers. The proposed categories would sweep in a great deal of information, and officers would not always be able to discern in advance what information would be found where.

The Government relies on Smith v. Maryland, U. Finally, at oral argument California suggested a different limiting principle, under which officers could search cell phone data if they could have obtained the same information from a pre-digital counterpart. But the fact that a search in the pre-digital era could have turned up a photograph or two in a wallet does not justify a search of thousands of photos in a digital gallery. The fact that someone could have tucked a paper bank statement in a pocket does not justify a search of every bank statement from the last five years.

And to make matters worse, such an analogue test would allow law enforcement to search a range of items contained on a phone, even though people would be unlikely to carry such a variety of information in physical form.

The Problem of Cell 13

In addition, an analogue test would launch courts on a difficult line-drawing expedition to determine which digital files are comparable to physical records. Is an e-mail equivalent to a letter? Is a voicemail equivalent to a phone message slip? It is not clear how officers could make these kinds of decisions before conducting a search, or how courts would apply the proposed rule after the fact. We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime. Cell phones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among members of criminal enterprises, and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals.

Privacy comes at a cost. Our holding, of course, is not that the information on a cell phone is immune from search; it is instead that a warrant is generally required before such a search, even when a cell phone is seized incident to arrest. New Hampshire, U. Recent technological advances similar to those discussed here have, in addition, made the process of obtaining a warrant itself more efficient. See McNeely, U. Moreover, even though the search incident to arrest exception does not apply to cell phones, other case-specific exceptions may still justify a warrantless search of a particular phone.

Arizona, U. Such exigencies could include the need to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence in individual cases, to pursue a fleeing suspect, and to assist persons who are seriously injured or are threatened with imminent injury. The defendants here recognize—indeed, they stress—that such fact-specific threats may justify a warrantless search of cell phone data.

See Reply Brief in No. The critical point is that, unlike the search incident to arrest exception, the exigent circumstances exception requires a court to examine whether an emergency justified a warrantless search in each particular case. Opposition to such searches was in fact one of the driving forces behind the Revolution itself. In , the patriot James Otis delivered a speech in Boston denouncing the use of writs of assistance. Adams ed. Then and there the child Independence was born.

Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.

We reverse the judgment of the California Court of Appeal in No. We affirm the judgment of the First Circuit in No. Justice Alito, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. I agree with the Court that law enforcement officers, in conducting a lawful search incident to arrest, must generally obtain a warrant before searching information stored or accessible on a cell phone. I write separately to address two points. First, I am not convinced at this time that the ancient rule on searches incident to arrest is based exclusively or even primarily on the need to protect the safety of arresting officers and the need to prevent the destruction of evidence.

This rule antedates the adoption of the Fourth Amendment by at least a century. See T. In Weeks v. And neither in Weeks nor in any of the authorities discussing the old common-law rule have I found any suggestion that it was based exclusively or primarily on the need to protect arresting officers or to prevent the destruction of evidence.

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On the contrary, when pre-Weeks authorities discussed the basis for the rule, what was mentioned was the need to obtain probative evidence. Frost, 9 Car. See also Holker v. Hennessey, Mo. Two 19th-century treatises that this Court has previ-ously cited in connection with the origin of the search-incident-to-arrest rule, see Weeks, supra, at , suggest the same rationale.

See F. It has long been accepted that written items found on the person of an arrestee may be examined and used at trial. Nor is there any risk that leaving these items unread will endanger the arresting officers. Despite my view on the point discussed above, I agree that we should not mechanically apply the rule used in the predigital era to the search of a cell phone. Many cell phones now in use are capable of storing and accessing a quantity of information, some highly personal, that no person would ever have had on his person in hard-copy form.

This calls for a new balancing of law enforcement and privacy interests. The Court strikes this balance in favor of privacy interests with respect to all cell phones and all information found in them, and this approach leads to anomalies. Suppose that two suspects are arrested. Suspect number one has in his pocket a monthly bill for his land-line phone, and the bill lists an incriminating call to a long-distance number. He also has in his a wallet a few snapshots, and one of these is incriminating. Suspect number two has in his pocket a cell phone, the call log of which shows a call to the same incriminating number.

In addition, a number of photos are stored in the memory of the cell phone, and one of these is incriminating.