By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
Photo(s) Credit: Ross D. Franklin for the Associated Press (AP) and the Pacific Legal Foundation
May 18, 2021
This is a biggy. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recently decided UNANIMOUSLY in the first gun case in a decade. The case is Caniglia v. Strom, and it involves a man’s Second and Fourth Amendment rights. Amazingly, the Court decided 9-0 AGAINST warrantless searches and seizures, thank God, and in favor of one Edward Caniglia, who police apparently did dirty. Caniglia had his guns confiscated by the over-enthusiastic coppers after he had a heated argument with his wife, laid a pistol and loaded magazine on the table, and asked his wife to shoot him “and get it over with”. Not ideal, of course, but also not worthy of having his guns confiscated, either, according to the Court.
The wife got scared and called the cops on him. Apparently, the police lied to her and told her Mr. Caniglia had given them permission to take the guns before being carted off for a mental health evaluation, even though Mr. Caniglia denied having suicidal thoughts, and claims the officers agreed NOT to confiscate his guns if we went voluntarily. There are of course more details to the case, but you get the drift. The cops basically lied to the wife AND Mr. Caniglia, and got grabby with the guns. Not good.
Part of the significance of the decision involves outlining the differences between police searching vehicles on public roadways, and searching homes. The decision also addressed the questionable Constitutionality of “Red Flag” laws, and how this case and decision apply to those laws.
Justice Clarence Thomas issued the Court’s opinion on the case, part of which is as follows.
Decades ago, this Court held that a warrantless search of an impounded vehicle for an unsecured firearm did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U. S. 433 (1973). In reaching this conclusion, the Court observed that police officers who patrol the “public highways” are often called to discharge noncriminal “community caretaking functions,” such as responding to disabled vehicles or investigating accidents. Id., at 441. The question today is whether Cady’s acknowledgment of these “caretaking” duties creates a standalone doctrine that justifies warrantless searches and seizures in the home. It does not.
He goes on:
What is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes. Cady acknowledged as much, and this Court has repeatedly “declined to expand the scope of exceptions to the warrant requirement to permit warrantless entry into the home.” Collins, 584 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 8).
Justice Alito weighed in on the “Red Flag” laws aspects, somewhat:
4. This case also implicates another body of law that petitioner glossed over: the so-called “red flag” laws that some States are now enacting. These laws enable the police to seize guns pursuant to a court order to prevent their use for suicide or the infliction of harm on innocent persons. See, e.g., Cal. Penal Code Ann. §§18125–18148 (West Cum. Supp. 2021); Fla. Stat. §790.401(4) (Cum. Supp. 2021); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann., ch. 140, §131T (2021). They typically specify the standard that must be met and the procedures that must be followed before firearms may be seized. Provisions of red flag laws may be challenged under the Fourth Amendment, and those cases may come before us. Our decision today does not address those issues.
DefenseReview (DR) believes the Court absolutely made the right decision on this one. Good for them.
Anyway, you can read the entire case and decision here. Have fun.
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