The Special Events Committee of the San Diego FBA held its second Civics Day event with the students of the ALBA Community Day School and Magistrate Judge Michael S. Berg on December 16. The Civics Day event is an opportunity for local students to visit a federal courthouse and participate in the legal process as they evaluate real life cases and develop legal arguments.
The opportunity is especially meaningful for the ALBA students, which is a continuing school for students. These students are inevitably smart and engaged when they come to the courthouse, and they regularly impress with their observations and comments.
This year, the students addressed the Supreme Court’s decision of Riley v. California, in which the Court decided whether a police officer may conduct a warrantless search of a person’s cell phone incident to arrest. Judge Berg discussed the bounds of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches, and the students made arguments on both sides of why such a search should or should not be permitted.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the students agreed with the Court and unanimously voted that the warrantless search of a person’s cell phone does violate the Fourth Amendment, and any evidence gained in the search must be suppressed at trial. The students also had the opportunity to take photos from the bench in a federal courtroom.
The Special Events Committee appreciates the opportunity to host the ALBA students, and thanks its Special Events Chair Janet Cabral and committee member Justin M. Martin for organizing this wonderful event.