Lawsuit: 2nd Amendment, Due Process, etc...

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The Supreme Court Case that was a result of my civil rights case was decided today. Caniglia won!!




Got an email from Ed earlier but I've just seen it now.








SCOTUS Rules Police Cannot Search Homes Without Warrants in the Name of 'Community Caretaking'

MAY 17, 2021 1:52 PM EDT

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that an exception to the Fourth Amendment for “community caretaking” does not allow police to enter and search a home without a warrant.

The “community caretaking” exception originated from a 1973 case, Cady v. Dombrowski, in which an officer took a gun out of an impounded car without a warrant. The Supreme Court ruled at the time that police can conduct such warrantless searches if they are performing “community caretaking functions” in a “reasonable” manner.

Monday’s ruling, in the case Caniglia v. Strom, centered on whether that exception also justifies warrantless searches of homes. In a 9-0 ruling, the court decided that it does not.

While Cady recognized that police perform “many civil tasks” in modern society, the “recognition that these tasks exist” is not “an open-ended license to perform them anywhere,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion. “The Fourth Amendment protects ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,’” he continued.

(As Justice Samuel Alito noted in his concurrence, Monday’s ruling does not apply to another Fourth Amendment exception known as the “exigent circumstances” exception, which allows police to enter homes without a warrant to help “an injured occupant or to protect an occupant from imminent injury.’”)

“Perhaps not coincidentally, the Court’s unanimous ruling comes at a time of national debate over whether we should dial back the scope of police activities and only use them for actual law-enforcement purposes,” said Clark Neily, senior vice president for criminal justice at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, which had filed a brief urging the court to agreed with Caniglia. “This represents a welcome, albeit unusual, refusal on the justices’ part to give the government greater leeway in conducting warrantless searches of people’s homes and personal effects.”

The suit was filed by a Rhode Island man, Edward Caniglia, after police officers searched his home and seized two handguns without a warrant in 2015. During an argument with his wife, Caniglia had placed a handgun on the dining room table and asked her to “shoot [him] and get it over with.” His wife left and spent the night elsewhere, and after not being able to reach him the next day, called the police. The police found Caniglia on his porch; he denied he was suicidal but agreed to go to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation “on the condition that the officers would not confiscate his firearms,” according to Monday’s opinion.

The police did so anyway after he left.

Caniglia later sued the officers, arguing that the search and seizure violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The officers argued that their actions were legal because they believed Caniglia was suicidal. The District Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the police, ruling that the search counted as “community caretaking”—and that Cady had extended to both cars and homes.

A nonpartisan coalition of civil liberty advocates had worried that a similar Supreme Court ruling could have created a potentially dangerous precedent. The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Conservative Union Foundation had joined the Cato Institute to file a joint brief urging the court to keep the community caretaking exception “confined to its historic vehicle-related origins” and reject a broader standard that “would give police free rein to enter the home without probable cause or a warrant.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court did just that, ruling that neither “the holding nor logic” of Cady justified the police’s actions.






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Posted (edited)

Awesome news for you and all of us! Someone shared the decision on FB,  came here to send my congratulations! Unanimous decision too!

Edited by GP100

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That's going to throw a twist to those "Red Flag " laws , But remember it was 4A not 2A they ruled on .

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On Caniglia v Strom and Community Caretaking: Q&A with Shay Dvoretzky and Emily Kennedy of Skadden



"The Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Fourth Amendment protects the home as sacred..."

On May 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in the Fourth Amendment case Caniglia v. Strom. Shay Dvoretzky and Emily Kennedy of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the lead lawyers representing Edward Caniglia, help explain the significance of the decision.

Q: What was this case about?

The question in this case was whether the "community caretaking" exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement extends to homes.

The community caretaking exception originated with a 1973 Supreme Court decision, Cady v. Dombrowski, which upheld the warrantless search of a car that was in police custody. The officer in that case was looking for a gun that he believed was in the car and could have fallen into the wrong hands. In upholding the search, Cady recognized that police often perform noninvestigatory “community caretaking” functions, such as assisting with car accidents and traffic control.

Some lower courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Caniglia v. Strom, had extended the exception established in Cady to also allow warrantless searches of homes. In this case, Mr. Caniglia’s wife called the police to request a welfare check. The couple had argued the night before, and in a melodramatic gesture, Mr. Caniglia had placed an unloaded gun on the table and said, "Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?" His wife spent the evening at a hotel, and when she could not reach Mr. Caniglia the next morning, she called the police because she feared he had committed suicide.

...the Court held that the “community caretaking” exception does not extend to the home...

The police spoke with Mr. Caniglia at his home, and even though he was calm and denied any suicidal intent, they decided to send him — involuntarily — to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. As soon as he left his home, they entered it and seized guns from his bedroom and garage. Although the hospital released Mr. Caniglia the same day (with a hefty bill for the police-ordered services), he was unable to retrieve his firearms from the police for months.

Mr. Caniglia sued the officers and the city for violating his Fourth Amendment rights, but the First Circuit upheld the officers’ actions as an exercise of their “community caretaking” functions. In a 9-0 opinion by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court held that the “community caretaking” exception does not extend to the home, narrowing police powers to search homes without a warrant and repudiating the First Circuit’s decision.

Q: Why is this decision significant?

The Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Fourth Amendment protects the home as sacred.

The Court’s holding is a significant victory for Americans concerned about the sanctity of their homes.

The government cannot intrude there without a warrant or a true emergency. The First Circuit’s now discarded standard would have allowed officers to demand entry into people’s homes based on subjective and undefined “community caretaking” needs. In rejecting that standard, the Supreme Court reaffirmed bedrock Fourth Amendment principles, and held that police do not have “an open-ended license to perform” community caretaking tasks in the home.

The Court’s holding is a significant victory for Americans concerned about the sanctity of their homes. The diverse amicus support for Mr. Caniglia at the Supreme Court demonstrates the breadth of interests at stake: The ACLU and the American Conservative Union Foundation filed a joint amicus brief, and other amici included the Pacific Legal Foundation, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Institute for Justice, the American Association of Suicidology and several gun rights organizations.

Q: What do you make of the multiple concurrences, the length of which far surpasses the Court’s opinion?

The Court is unanimous that there is no "community caretaking" exception to the Fourth Amendment for homes: Police either need a warrant or a true emergency to enter a home. The concurrences suggest that different Justices may feel differently about what constitutes a true emergency.

The argument spanned more than 100 minutes, and the rebuttal included an open floor for free-for-all questioning by the Justices.

At oral argument, several Justices pressed both sides and the United States on a range of hypotheticals — rats in the Bubonic plague, elderly neighbors failing to show up for dinner dates, cats stuck in trees. Although the Court is notoriously rigid about the clock, and in the era of telephonic arguments about the sequencing of the Justices’ questions, the Chief Justice allowed the advocates extra time. The argument spanned more than 100 minutes, and the rebuttal included an open floor for free-for-all questioning by the Justices.

The concurrences touch on many of the hypotheticals expressed at argument. While they present important concerns, the defendants in Mr. Caniglia’s case didn’t claim that they were responding to a true emergency. They relied solely on their community caretaking function, which the Court made clear does not justify warrantless intrusions of the home.

That such a lengthy argument generated an unusually short (4-page), unanimous opinion underscores Mr. Caniglia’s resounding victory on the "community caretaking" issue presented in the case.

Q: This was the first merits case you’ve handled since launching Skadden’s new Supreme Court & Appellate practice. What has that been like?

The Court granted certiorari in Caniglia days before Skadden launched this practice, so our start has been exciting and rewarding.

Skadden has always been committed to pro bono work, and we have been grateful for the support of a robust pro bono practice, both in Caniglia and in other cases we are handling. Our group is also working on a number of appeals involving important business issues, in areas such as federal preemption, tax, energy and securities.

We look forward to what lies ahead as we continue to grow.




I can't tell how happy I am every time I come across an article on this. Still bummed out I didn't get to take this all the way myself but it is the end result that matters. 

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Saw an article with a discussion of Caniglia v Strom. Thought this was a nice summary of what we got done. Red Flag Laws can kiss my ass!




Bricker said when Caniglia was taken in an ambulance, the police entered his home and seized his firearms while claiming they were acting within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. 

Bricker  said they believed police  were working within the jurisdiction of their jobs under the “community caretaking exception” established in the Cady v. Dombrowski case of 1973. This exception allows police to perform unwarranted searches of vehicles if they believe the vehicle contains a threat to the community, but this protection, as ruled in Caniglia, does not include searches of the home.

“The Circuit Court and the District Court ruled in favor of the police,” Bricker said. “But the Supreme Court, actually with little evidence, unanimously overturned the ruling.”

Bricker said this ruling affects the police by preventing officers from being able to enter a home or even open the door to a home without potentially violating the Fourth Amendment. He said this applies in the event of a welfare check or during a mental health episode.

“This ruling makes it tougher for the police to do some of their non-explicitly crime fighting job,” Bricker said. “The case is really important because it’s the opening to hopefully what will be a new round of cases that deal with a new round of potentially immediate circumstances, or to potentially expand that community caretaking assumption.”

Bricker said the ruling will also make it more difficult for police to enforce laws put in place to permit the removal of firearms from an individual if they can be reasonably shown to be a danger to themselves or others. These are known as red flag laws.

“In this case, it’s not without reason for officers to believe that he might harm himself or others,” Bricker said. “It’s not completely unreasonable that they would want to go inside his home, but the Court is strongly saying that, without a warrant, you cannot enter the home in these circumstances.”

Bricker said when a red flag law is triggered, the permission that is received to confiscate a firearm is not technically considered a warrant. He said this means police would be precluded from entering a home to exercise these laws, despite having received legal permission to do so. He said this presents a clear challenge to the constitutionality of red flag laws and expects to see additional challenges in the future under the current court.



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