Cell phone users’ privacy called into question after landmark ruling

Judge's ruling in Gruver hazing case calls into question privacy of cell phone users

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Judge Beau Higginbotham with the 19th Judicial District Court made a landmark ruling, ordering Matthew Naquin to turn over the password to his seized cell phone. Naquin is a former LSU student accused in the hazing death of fraternity pledge, Maxwell Gruver.

District Attorney Hillar Moore says it’s a huge step moving forward in this investigation.

“I was really impressed with the decision, that it was practical, based on common sense. It’s really the only right decision,” said Moore.

Moore’s office previously confiscated Naquin’s cell phone with a search warrant, however, they were not able to access its content because it was password protected. Naquin’s attorneys argue the new ruling violates his rights and would count as self-incrimination.

“We feel that this is a violation of the 5th Amendment we believe that Naquin being compelled to provide his pass code does run afoul on the 5th Amendment. We’re going to seek a stay of the court’s ruling as we seek the writ to the 1st circuit. Again, whether or not that is accepted by the 1st circuit rule, we’ll see,” said attorney, Brant Mayer.

Naquin must comply to the court order by Feb. 25. Moore says they will continue working with the FBI to unlock Naquin’s cell phone.

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