High court takes cases on cellphone searches

This Oct. 7, 2013, file photo shows people waiting in line  to enter the court in Washington. Forty years ago, the Supreme Court decided that police dont need a warrant to look through anything a person is carrying when arrested. But that was long before smartphones gave people the ability to take with them the equivalent of millions of documents and thousands of photos. The justices are being asked to resolve a new clash of technology and privacy in the digital age.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File) Show caption
This Oct. 7, 2013, file photo shows people waiting in line to enter the court in Washington. Forty years ago, the Supreme Court decided that police dont need a warrant to look through anything a person is carrying when arrested. But that was long before smartphones gave people the ability to take with them the equivalent of millions of documents and thousands of photos. The justices are being asked to resolve a new clash of technology and privacy in the digital age. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether police need a warrant to search the cellphones of people they have arrested.

Justices said Friday they’ll hear appeals in two cases in which criminal defendants were convicted and sentenced at least in part on the strength of evidence obtained by warrantless searches of their cellphones.

At issue is a 40-year-old high court ruling allowing warrantless searches of items people are carrying when they’re arrested. Lower federal and state courts have differed over whether the ruling should apply to increasingly sophisticated cellphones, including even more advanced smartphones.

The cases will be argued in April and decided by late June.