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Ruling: Warrantless search of probationer's cellphone OK

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 01:18:18-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — An appeals court says probationers' "significantly diminished privacy rights" mean it's reasonable to conduct a warrantless search of the cellphone of a felony probationer who consented to searches of himself and his property.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday overturned a Pima County Superior Court judge's ruling suppressing evidence taken from a probationer's cellphone as authorities investigated whether he was involved in a new serious offense.

The ruling says Bryan Lietzau agreed to submit to warrantless searches and allow safe access to his property when he was placed on probation for aggravated harassment.

A judge didn't permit incriminating cellphone evidence to be used after a woman reported that Lietzau had an "inappropriate relationship" with her 13-year-old daughter and Lietzau was indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.