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State v. Diamond

Supreme Court of Minnesota

January 17, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Matthew Vaughn Diamond, Appellant.

         Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Mark Metz, Carver County Attorney, Peter A.C. Ivy, Chief Deputy County Attorney, Chaska, Minnesota, for respondent.

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Steven P. Russett, Assistant State Public Defender, Office of the Appellate Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Cort C. Holten, Jeffrey D. Bores, Gary K. Luloff, Chestnut Cambronne PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Legal Defense Fund.

         SYLLABUS

         Ordering appellant to provide a fingerprint to unlock a seized cellphone did not violate his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination because the compelled act was not a testimonial communication.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          CHUTICH, Justice.

         This case presents an issue of first impression: whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protects a person from being ordered to provide a fingerprint to unlock a seized cellphone. Neither the Supreme Court of the United States nor any state supreme court has addressed this issue.

         The police lawfully seized a cellphone from appellant Matthew Diamond, a burglary suspect, and attempted to execute a valid warrant to search the cellphone. The cellphone's fingerprint-scanner security lock, however, prevented the search, and Diamond refused to unlock the cellphone with his fingerprint, asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The district court found no Fifth Amendment violation and ordered Diamond to provide his fingerprint to unlock the cellphone so that the police could search its contents. After the court of appeals affirmed, we granted Diamond's petition for review. Because the compelled act here-providing a fingerprint-elicited only physical evidence from Diamond's body and did not reveal the contents of his mind, no violation of the Fifth Amendment privilege occurred. Accordingly, we affirm.

         FACTS

         A homeowner in Chaska returned home to find that someone had kicked open her attached garage's side-entry door, entered her home, and taken jewelry, electronics, and a safe. When police officers arrived to investigate the burglary, they discovered two key pieces of evidence: shoe tread prints on the side-entry door, and, on the driveway, an envelope with the name "S.W." written on it. A Chaska investigator determined that S.W. had sold jewelry to a pawnshop on the same day as the burglary, and the investigator obtained the license plate number of a car registered in S.W.'s name. Officers then located and stopped S.W.'s car; Diamond was driving the car, and S.W. was a passenger. Police officers arrested Diamond on outstanding warrants and took him to jail, where jail personnel collected and stored his shoes and a Samsung Galaxy 5 cellphone that he was carrying when arrested.

         Police officers obtained and executed warrants to seize Diamond's shoes and cellphone. In addition, they obtained a warrant to search the contents of the cellphone. But they could not search its contents because the cellphone required a fingerprint to unlock it.[1] The State then moved to compel Diamond to unlock the seized cellphone with his fingerprint. Diamond objected, asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

         The district court concluded that compelling Diamond's fingerprint would not violate his Fifth Amendment privilege because "[c]ompelling the production of [Diamond's] fingerprint or thumbprint would not call upon the use of [his] mind. It is more akin to providing a key to a lockbox." Accordingly, it ordered Diamond to "provide a fingerprint or thumbprint as ...


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