Caniglia Versus Strom: The Supreme Court On The Reach Of The Fourth Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

From a number of readers, the SCOTUS has placed limits on the scope of power police may take, while protecting the fourth amendment.

David Codrea has snipped the major details (this isn’t a long ruling).

Held: Neither the holding nor logic of Cady justifies such warrantless searches and seizures in the home. Cady held that a warrantless search of an impounded vehicle for an unsecured firearm did not violate the Fourth Amendment. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted that the officers who patrol the “public highways” are often called to discharge noncriminal “community caretaking functions,” such as responding to disabled vehicles or investigating accidents. 413 U. S., at 441. But searches of vehicles and homes are constitutionally different, as the Cady opinion repeatedly stressed. Id., at 439, 440– 442. The very core of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and “there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.” Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1, 6. A recognition of the existence of “community caretaking” tasks, like rendering aid to motorists in disabled vehicles, is not an open-ended license to perform them anywhere. Pp. 3–4. 953 F. 3d 112, vacated and remanded.

This is also being discussed at Ammoland here and here, and GOA is calling this a huge victory.

No doubt it is, and this is the right decision.  But some of the justices blather on and on about why they think it was okay to vote the way they did, which vote seems for all the wrong reasons.

I saw the decision, and looked immediately to see what Justice Clarence Thomas said.  He matters.  The rest of them are complete frauds and what they have to say matters no more to me than when a dog barks.

Now.  Let’s see how much this decision actually has an effect in the real life behavior of police.  As for the so-called “community caretaker” issue, that’s a myth fabricated out of whole cloth, with no basis in the law, and in complete contradiction with prior decisions such as Castle Rock versus Gonzales, Warren versus D.C., and DeShaney versus Winnebago County.

Only an idiot would believe in something like the “community caretaker” foolishness.  But the SCOTUS seems to be consumed with the notion – except for Justice Thomas.

This specific instance also highlights the continuing threat of so-called extreme risk protection orders.  Those come with warrants, while this case dealt with actions taken without a warrant.

Warrants are handed out like candy by judges.


Comments

  1. On May 20, 2021 at 8:03 am, George 1 said:

    It would be great if this started a trend back to the Founders vision for the 4th Amendment. Hope springs eternal I guess.

  2. On May 20, 2021 at 8:41 am, Jeremiah said:

    Alito indicated he would be willing to attack red-flag laws in his concurrence, but I don’t think it’s likely the court will strike those down.

    Free people cannot rely solely on judges for their rights, anyway, so no court decision is actually “huge.”

  3. On May 22, 2021 at 1:37 pm, Hudson H Luce said:

    I had a case dismissed on a brief – caretaking can’t be expanded to include searches. My client had drugs in her purse, she was obviously under the influence but was a passenger. The car had a flat, an officer pulled up to “render help” and in the course of “rendering help”, saw my client, searched her purse, and arrested her. I argued that caretaking can’t be expanded to create probable cause for a search, and the court agreed, and my client walked. The brief was one paragraph long… The law is pretty clear, at least in Kansas.

  4. On May 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm, Hudson H Luce said:

    This is a bit off topic, but would be relevant to “community caretaking” – https://crimeresearch.org/2021/02/41-states-prohibit-the-seizure-of-guns-during-emergencies/ “Forty states have laws that prohibit the seizure of guns during emergencies, six states have laws that allow such seizures, and four states and the District of Columbia have no such laws on the books. These laws largely passed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on August 29, 2005. The 37 states that we are certain passed their laws after Katrina are:

    Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

    New Orleans police confiscated an estimated 1,200 guns. A week after the Hurricane’s landfall, New Orleans police superintendent Edwin P. Compass III made a widely publicized call for blanket confiscation: “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.” As the New York Times reported: “no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind.” Private security guards were exempted from the policy.

    Police are extremely important in preventing crime. Indeed, Dr. John Lott’s research indicates that they are the single most important factor. The problem with confiscation is that with police and the national guard already stretched thin, cell phone and phone service spotty at best, people who were facing threats were largely left on their own. Even during the best of times police virtually always arrive after the crime has occurred, but during emergencies response times and the police’s ability to solve crimes are much more limited. Having police confiscate firearms may also increase the burden that police are already facing to do their jobs during emergencies.

    Research shows that it is the most vulnerable people — those who are the most likely victims of violent crime and who are relatively weaker physically — who benefit the most from owning guns. We have seen gun sales across the United States increase over the course of the last year when police haven’t been allowed or able to do their jobs.

    In addition, to laws that ban firearms confiscation during emergencies, some hurricane-prone states such as Florida and Texas passed laws that temporarily waive concealed carry restrictions during mandatory evacuations. In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT.

    This section amends the Stafford Act to prohibit federal employees, any entities (including state and local governments) receiving federal funds, and other relief workers from confiscating, requiring the registration of, or prohibiting possession of firearms during a disaster or an emergency if those firearms are legally possessed under federal or state laws. The bill also provides for a private right of action for restitution from an individual violating this section and for the return of the firearm confiscated in violation of this section. . . .

    Private Rights of Action.–

    (1) In general.–Any individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may seek relief in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress against any person who subjects such individual, or causes such individual to be subjected, to the deprivation of any of the rights, privileges, or immunities secured by this section.

    (2) Remedies.–In addition to any existing remedy in law or equity, under any law, an individual aggrieved by the seizure or confiscation of a firearm in violation of this section may bring an action for return of such firearm in the United States district court in the district in which that individual resides or in which such firearm may be found

    (3) Attorney fees.–In any action or proceeding to enforce this section, the court shall award the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs

    The 2006 Act raises questions about the viability of the state laws that allow for confiscation of firearms.”

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This article is filed under the category(s) Supreme Court and was published May 19th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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