Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2019


The purpose of my thesis is to analyze the role of the Fourth Amendment, specifically the Plain View Doctrine, in cell phone privacy. The thesis will attempt to answer the question of whether viewing a cell phone screen can be considered a search in plain view. To have a better understanding of the topic, I included case law on the Plain View Doctrine, cell phone privacy law, and statistics on the scope of the issue. I conducted research through interviews with police officers from surrounding police departments and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to determine what police protocol is for cell phone searches. In an attempt to incorporate all of the research and case law surrounding the issue, I devised a hypothetical brief to showcase how the proposed situation would proceed in today’s courts system. My thesis also includes directions for further research and possible benefits of this research.