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Court Upholds Limit On Warrantless Searches


The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Caniglia v. Strom that police cannot enter a home to conduct a search for safety reasons without a warrant. Police in Rhode Island had entered a home to search for a gun belonging to a man who had agreed to seek a mental health evaluation. The man sued, saying that his Fourth Amendment right had been violated. The police said they were acting under one of their “community caretaking” functions that allows searches without a warrant. However, the Court said the “community caretaking exception” is a narrow one, stemming from a 1973 ruling in Cady v. Dombrowski that said police could search an impounded car for an unsecured firearm.