• Attorney Arna D. Cortazzo

Dead Men Don't Dial (unless Florida police help)


Largo Police shot and killed Linus Phillip on March 23, 2018 alleging self defense. According to the Tampa Bay Times, they decided they wanted his cell phone data for their investigation into the police shooting by one of their own. So, Largo Police officers went to the funeral home to get his phone.

The phone was locked. Then it happened. The police took the phone to the body of Linus Phillip and held Phillip's lifeless finger to the phone to unlock it. It didn't work.

They didn't have a warrant and they argue that they didn't need one because dead men do not have an expectation of privacy.

Well, that's true, but his family is alive and they have a vested interest in the remains of Mr. Phillip. I agree with Stetson University College of Law professor Charles Rose: "It doesn't pass the smell test."

In case your curious about the facts that led to this here they are:

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Police stated that they had pulled over Phillip’s car at a gas station because of illegally tinted windows. Then, they smelled marijuana in his car. Phillip got back in the car and tried to drive away while an officer was still partly in the car. The officer fired his gun, then fell out of the car.

Makes you wonder what was on that phone.

Perhaps FDLE should be conducting the police investigation into the death of Mr. Phillip and not the Largo Police.

Another expert, Remigius Nwabueze of Southampton Law School in England, points to a Michigan decision that found a county medical examiner could take a blood sample from a man killed in a car crash.

“The law has been most cruel, really unforgiving to a dead person,” Nwabueze told the Times. “It provides no entitlement or legal rights after death to a deceased person


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       Arna D. Cortazzo

Protecting Floridians' Rights for over 30 years.

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