Sunday Rant

“Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Police Can Enter A Home To Seize Guns Without A Warrant”*

Another of our “Constitutional Rights” is going to disappear.

The 4th Amendment right against warrantless searches of a person’s home is a pillar of Americans’ constitutional liberties. There are some limited exceptions to this right. There is an “exigent circumstances” exception. There is also the “emergency aid” exception However, there is a broader cousin to these amendments called the “community caretaking” exception. Also, all three exceptions allow warrantless searches so long as the police officer acted “reasonably”. As long as an officer might reasonably think that a warrantless search will alleviate a danger to the community, the search is considered constitutional. There is a vigorous debate about whether the community care exception can apply to searches of a person’s home. The Court has just announced that it will hear arguments next month on a case that presents this issue: Caniglia—v-Strom.

The crux of this case is the police seized 2 firearms, after lying to the wife saying the husband had given his okay to search the residence for firearms, and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the seizure under the “community caretaking doctrine”. There were no “exigent circumstances” and “emergency aid” involved in the seizure.

Long a mainstay of police procedural tv shows, the “Did you hear that cry for help” is often used and abused in real life as reason to enter. Now they won’t even have to pretend, after all, it’ll be for the good and safety of the community.

This appears to be a variation of a “Red Flag” law in which the police search, and seize, because someone said there was something in the house. The 4th Ammend. is supposed to protect you from this type of action, within very limited exceptions. Those exceptions will become meaningless as long it is for “for the safety of the people”.

*From “Forbes”.

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