Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.

A Tampa, Florida, man is in jail for contempt of court because he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) unlock a pair of cell phones to comply with a search warrant.

The case of William Montanez, first arrested on June 21, got some attention last week when Tampa’s Fox affiliate reported that a judge tossed him in jail for contempt because he couldn’t remember the passcodes on two phones deputies wanted access to.

Beyond the issue of whether courts can force a person to provide the passcode to their phone, there’s another issue here of why, exactly, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department is demanding access in the first place.

Montanez’s attorney, Patrick Leduc, spoke to Reason Wednesday and provided copies of all the police reports and warrants in the case. Montanez was initially pulled over by a deputy who was monitoring his car on outdoor surveillance footage and saw him leave a gas station and drive onto the street without coming to a full stop first. This is a traffic violation in Florida.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons