Two defendants in an extortion case in Florida have been ordered by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Charles Johnson to turn over the PINs needed to gain access to two of four phones that were seized during the arrest of the defendants. “For me, this is like turning over a key to a safe-deposit box,” Judge Johnson said. The defendants, Hencha Voigt and her former boyfriend Wesley Victor, have argued through their attorneys that to hand over the PINs would violate their 5th amendment right to remain silent and protection from self incriminating testimony in a criminal case. Some privacy advocates have argued that forcing the defendants to disclose to the court what their phone’s PIN code is would also be a 1st amendment violation as well, in that it would be a form of compelled speech.
Judge Johnson’s order follows a precedent set by a 2016 ruling from the Florida Second District Court of Appeals, where a three judge panel ruled that handing over a four digit PIN to an iPhone did not qualify as testimony, and thus was not protected from disclosure to the court under the 5th amendment’s self incrimination clause. Hencha Voidt has been ordered to