The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against police who seized a man's guns from his house without a warrant

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against police who seized a man's guns from his house without a warrant
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US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, DC, on May 15, 2021. DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court sided with a man whose guns were taken by police without a warrant.

  • Edward Caniglia had agreed to a psychiatric evaluation, but police returned to his home and took his weapons.

  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said a "community caretaking" rule did not apply.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The US Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling Monday decided in favor of a Rhode Island man who sued after police seized his weapons without obtaining a warrant.

The case centered on the idea that police have the ability to engage in "community caretaking functions," but Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion wrote the lower court's interpretation of the "community caretaking" rule "goes beyond anything this Court has recognized."

"What is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes," Justice Clearance Thomas wrote.

During a 2015 argument with his wife, Edward Caniglia put a handgun on his table and told his wife to "shoot [him] and get it over with." His wife left and spent that night in a hotel, but called police for a welfare check when she was unable to reach him in the morning, according to court documents.

When she and officers of the Cranston Police Department arrived at the home, Caniglia agreed to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation so long as the police did not take his weapons. But after he left for the evaluation, police entered the home and took his two handguns.

Caniglia sued and said officers had violated his Fourth Amendment right because they did not have a warrant to enter his home and search for the weapons. The lower court had dismissed his case.

The Supreme Court ordered the Boston 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Caniglia against police.

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