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Justices say people have right to privacy in texts

February 27th, 2014 - 12:13pm

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington's Supreme Court says people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text messages they send from their phones - even if they can't know for sure who might be reading them.

In a 5-4 opinion, the justices overturned a Cowlitz County heroin conviction on Thursday. After arresting Daniel Lee on drug charges in 2009, Longview police saw text messages coming in to Lee's cell phone. One was from Shawn Daniel Hinton, asking Lee to call him.

A detective posed as Lee and wrote back, and Hinton responded in a text that he was sick and needed heroin. The detective set up a meeting and Hinton was arrested for attempted possession of heroin.

Writing for the majority, Justice Steven Gonzalez wrote that Washington state citizens have an expectation that their text messages won't be read by police without a warrant.

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