Illinois Courts Side With QC Defendant

Mar 8, 2019

A Davenport man may help set a legal precedent in Illinois when it comes to the 5th Amendment and self-incrimination. This week, the Third District Appellate Court ruled in his favor, after he refused to give officers the passcode to his phone.

In 2017, Rock Island County deputies arrested Michael Spicer after finding drugs in the car he was riding in. They also got a search warrant for his phone, but Spicer refused to unlock it for them. 

A circuit judge agreed with him, that providing the passcode would violate his rights. The judge ruled authorities did not know what information they might find, only that it "probably" contained evidence of illegal activities.

In their unanimous ruling this week, three justices of the appellate court in Ottawa agreed. Even though courts across the country are split on the issue, the Illinois justices concluded unlocking the phone would violate his 5th Amendment rights. And that the state was trying to engage in a "fishing expedition."

Spicer's case has been on hold, while the prosecution's appeal is being heard.