Attorney Darrin E. Johnson was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times’ article, “Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?” discussing an attempt to unlock the mobile phone of a deceased person.
Darrin Johnson, a criminal defense attorney based in New Port Richey, pointed to a case out of Virginia that drew a distinction between the methods based on the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
A trial judge determined that being forced to disclose your passcode is a no-go because it would involve divulging knowledge from your mind. But requiring you to provide a fingerprint is fair game.
“A fingerprint is not the same as compelling an individual to convey information that they have,” Johnson said.