Published: Tue, April 24, 2018

Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

A Florida woman was upset when detectives showed up at the funeral home where her late fiance's body was resting. "I just felt so disrespected and violated", Armstrong says.

This comes after her fiance, Linus Phillip, was killed by a police officer in March.

While you may waive your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by using biometric factors like facial or fingerprint recognition to unlock your phone, the same can not be said for passcodes.

Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, tells the Tampa Bay Times dead people can't assert their Fourth Amendment protections because you can't own property when you're dead. And after all that, the phone still did not unlock.


Lt. Randall Chaney said the detectives were trying to access the phone as part of an investigation into Phillips' death and a drug investigation.

Due to fingerprint scanners becoming ubiquitous on smartphones these days, law enforcement is having a harder time trying to gain access to a suspect's phone as they can not legally force them to give it up. Samsung's mid-tier to high-end Galaxy phones, Google's Pixel handsets, LG's devices and many more also have fingerprint-unlocking technology.

Legal experts think that there is no need of a warrant to unlock a smartphone using the fingerprint scanner when the subject is deceased. Such an issue regularly comes up ever since advanced biometric systems were introduced to smartphones.

A dead man's finger could not unlock his phone, Florida police discovered after visiting a funeral home in a desperate attempt to access information that could assist them in an investigation.

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