What sort of emergency allows police to enter your home without a warrant? That was the question before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.
The case before the court involved a heated argument between a long-married couple, Edward and Kim Caniglia. He brought out a gun and told her to shoot him to put him out of his "misery." Then after he left the house in a huff, she hid the gun, and spent the night in a motel. The next morning, unable to reach her husband, she asked police to escort her home because was afraid he might have harmed himself.
Police found the husband on the front porch, and sent him for a psychological evaluation. Later that day, doctors concluded he was not a threat to himself or others and released him. In the meantime, police had confiscated his guns and ammunition. So he sued, alleging an illegal seizure and search of his home.
The lower courts ruled that police could enter the home and under the so-called the community care-taking exception to the Constitution's warrant requirement.
Representing Edward Caniglia, lawyer Shay Dvoretzky said that an exception like that would "eviscerate" the warrant protections of the Fourth Amendment, NPR reports.