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Court: Order to unlock phone with fingerprint constitutional

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a judge's order requiring a man to provide his fingerprint to unlock his cellphone was constitutional and didn't violate his right against self-incrimination.

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 11:12 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a judge's order requiring a man to provide his fingerprint to unlock his cellphone was constitutional and didn't violate his right against self-incrimination.

Wednesday's decision comes in the case of Matthew Diamond, who wanted burglary and theft convictions overturned in connection with a 2014 robbery in Chaska.

Diamond's attorney argued the district court violated Diamond's Fifth Amendment right. Police found incriminating evidence on the cellphone after it was unlocked. The Supreme Court ruling affirms an earlier ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The justices say the act of providing a fingerprint to unlock a cellphone wasn't "testimonial" because it didn't require Diamond to use his mind to provide information. They likened it to providing physical evidence, like a blood sample or standing in a lineup.

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