Oral Arguments in Caniglia v. Strom and the so-called “Community Caretaking” Exception Issue

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held oral arguments in the Caniglia v. Strom case, where law enforcement has been seeking the official establishment of a “community caretaking” exception to the warrant requirement which protects a person’s home. You can listen to the arguments here.

You can hear that the justices are concerned/obsessed with the hypothetical scenario of an elderly person having fallen, or been injured, in her home. Some neighbor of family member calls for the police. They show up at the door; there’s no answer; can they go in without a warrant? If they don’t, maybe the woman has “fallen and can’t get up.” And maybe she doesn’t have Life Alert…..

That’s the hold up here. The questions from the Court didn’t sound promising at all. This is a case where both the ACLU and the Gun Owners of America submitted amicus briefs. This is a we-the-people vs. the government issue. Unfortunately, the Court seems overly concerned about the potential liability of police officers who engage in wellness checks.

But it’s really a non-issue. The proper answer to Judge Roberts’ hypothetical is the reality that there never would be civil liability for an officer who technically violates the Fourth Amendment just by checking on grandma during a wellness check. Why? Because of qualified immunity. Any lawsuit stemming from such a scenario would be granted qualified immunity. And even if he/she weren’t, the measure of our constitutional rights is not a policy analysis about the costs or efficacy of law enforcement agencies, who have insurance for these reasons, defending against civil lawsuits.

Federal Suit Filed Against Family Court Judge and Deputies for Warrantless Search and Seizure

Yesterday we filed suit against Family Court Judge Louise Goldston of the 13th Family Court Circuit, based out of Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia, as well as three deputies with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, for federal civil rights violations which occurred during the March 4, 2020 search of Matt Gibson’s home following a post-divorce contempt proceeding filed by his ex-wife. If you haven’t been following the case, you can learn more here.

Here’s the full complaint, filed in federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia. It makes claims of violations of the 4th Amendment, 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment. Also a defendant is the ex-wife’s lawyer for conspiracy with a state official to violate Mr. Gibson’s civil rights.

Yesterday night we went over the lawsuit in detail on the YouTube channel in episode no. 50 of Freedom is Scary:

Judicial Hearing Board Releases Decision in the Family Court Judge Search Case

Today the Judicial Hearing Board of West Virginia made their Recommended Decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court in the case of the Family Court judge who searched the home of a litigant – my client, Matt Gibson. Despite the fact that disciplinary officials and the judge had already agreed to a punishment of a $5,000 fine and an “admonishment,” the Hearing Board only recommended “censure rather than admonishment” and “a fine of $1,000 instead of $5,000….”

At least one vote in this decision was The Honorable Glen Stotler, a sitting West Virginia Family Court Judge who “dissents because in his opinion there was no clear and convincing evidence that [his fellow Family Court Judge] violated any provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Mind you, the undisputed allegations included the admission that Judge Goldston violated “Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.4(A), 2.4(B), and 2.5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct” for, among other things, threatening to put the homeowner in jail if he refused to allow her (along with his ex-wife, her lawyer, boyfriend, and two cops) inside his home to search.

As far as the rest of the board who voted for the reduced punishment, they noted in their decision that, “although there was no clear legal foundation for conducting the judicial view in question, the scope of a judicial officer’s inherent authority relative to judicial views is uncertain, and guidance to judicial officers from the Supreme Court of Appeals through rulemaking or otherwise regarding the proper scope of conducting judicial views would be beneficial.”

No clear legal foundation? A judge can show up at your home with law enforcement and search your house, and there’s no legal basis establishing that she can’t? They’re asking for guidance on “rulemaking” from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia on this grey area? “It is a basic principle of Fourth Amendment law that searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.” Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006). This applies to both criminal and other administrative type searches and seizures. See Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 312-313, (1978) This is pretty damned clear. No state supreme court – not even a legislature – can create a new rule or law allowing a federal Fourth Amendment violation. Period.

“You’re not getting in my house without a warrant.”

“Oh yes I am…..”

Here’s the decision. It still goes to the Supreme Court, and they will make the actual decision. I’m told that the judicial disciplinary officials will be filing objections to the decision, and also objecting to the participation of Judge Stotler due to his impartiality.

Feds Target the “Oath Keepers” Over the Capitol

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Harrelson Arrested for Attending Jan. 6 Protests – Family’s Bank Account Locked Down, Wife Loses Her Job, They Are Frightened and Don’t Know What to Do – this according to a Gateway Pundit story out today. Let’s take a look. This has to do with the feds going after the so-called “Oath keepers” group. Here’s Freedom is Scary, Episode No. 48:

Here’s the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.

Here’s what happened in oral arguments today in the AR-15 Open Carry case – Walker v. Donahoe

This afternoon, oral arguments were held in the case of Walker v. Donahoe – the AR-15 open carry case out of Putnam County, West Virginia. I’ll discuss what happened in a live debriefing at 6:30 pm, which is in 4 minutes…..

Here’s a link to the actual recording of the arguments, if you missed it live:

Here’s an excerpt of my argument, as taken by my staff:

Here’s the video of the underlying incident, if you haven’t seen it:

If you love FREEDOM, should you be using CRYPTOCURRENCY? I talk with co-Founder of TUSC

If you love life, liberty, property, the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and basically all civil rights, you should understand the potential lifeline of freedom that is made possible due to cryptocurrency. The easiest way to destroy the Second Amendment is to make it impossible for the firearms industry to transact business through corporate suppression of free speech and free enterprise. Even worse, the mainstream corporate financial institutions have a history of partnering with the federal government to share your private data for use in criminal prosecutions and other activities against your consent and constitutional rights.

As suggested by John Crump of the GOA (Gun Owners of America) from FIS Episode No. 45, I’m talking tonight with the co-Founder of TUSC (The Universal Settlement Coin), a decentralized, non-ICO cryptocurrency project that is focused supporting the retail firearms industry with their payments issues. Rob McNealy is a serial entrepreneur, podcaster, cryptocurrency advocate, self-defense activist and recovering corporate MBA.

Join me tonight on Freedom is Scary Live, Episode No. 46. Tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern:

TUSC, The Universal Settlement Coin, is an open source, pure payments cryptocurrency project built on a delegated proof of stake (DPOS) blockchain. TUSC is a decentralized, non-ICO, community project with on-chain governance. TUSC was purpose built for retailer adoption using a unique marketing model with an elected and term limited third-party vendor called the Marketing Partner, whose role is to support the onboarding of retailers and to promote TUSC through aggressive marketing and sales strategies to vertical markets and industries with recognized problems with existing payment systems.

More about Rob McNealy and TUSC: Rob McNealy: Podcast Website: https://robmcnealy.com​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/robmcnealy​ (365,000+ followers) IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm11393442​ LBRY: https://lbry.tv/$/invite/@robmcnealy:e​ Minds: https://www.minds.com/robmcnealy​ Rarible:https://app.rarible.com/robmcnealy​ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robmcnealy​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robmcnealya…​ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/robmcnealy​ Everipedia: https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/r…​ Parler: https://parler.com/robmcnealy​ Medium: https://robmcnealy.medium.com​ TUSC: Twitter: https://twitter.com/tuscnetwork​ TUSC Website: https://tusc.network​ TUSC Marketing Partner Website: https://tuscmp.one​ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tusc…​ LBRY: https://lbry.tv/$/invite/@TUSC:a​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tuscnetwork​ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tusc…​ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/tuscnetwork​ Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/23371…​ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TUSCNetwork​ Recent media: https://freebeacon.com/guns/cryptocur…https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gun…

Can a Family Court Judge Search a Litigant’s Home?? The Question is Briefed to the Judicial Hearing Board

By now everyone knows about the case of the Family Court Judge searching my client’s house. Despite being formally charged before the WV Supreme Court, and despite agreeing to the recommended discipline, she is now trying to back out of it, with the assistance of another Family Court Judge, who happens to be on the Judicial Hearing Board. It’s apparently headed to the WV Supreme Court on the issue of whether it’s legal for a family court judge to search a litigant’s home. The briefs are in. Here’s what’s going on. It’s crazy.

Here’s the Post Hearing Order from the Judicial Hearing Board, following what was supposed to be a routine hearing to receive and recommend the joint settlement agreement between the parties, which provided for a $5,000.00 fine and a censure. It posed a number of questions to the parties, requesting briefing on the posed questions, which from my understanding is pretty un-heard-of:

Here is Judge Goldston’s brief, which now apparently makes a 180 pivot, and argues that she did nothing wrong.

Here is the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel’s brief, which explains in detail what she did wrong:

Since my client is a “complainant,” rather than a party, we filed an amicus curiae brief, which is just sort of advisory guidance to the Judicial Hearing Board. Note that once they make their decision, their recommendation goes to the WV Supreme Court for a final decision.

Tonight’s live video on the topic:

The “Community Caretaking” Exception Heads to the SCOTUS

The SCOTUS is taking up the so-called “community caretaking exception” to decide whether it is an applicable exception to the warrant requirement for the home, rather than just vehicles.

There is a vigorous debate about whether the community care exception can apply to searches of a person’s home as well as of their car. Vehicles have always had less 4th Amendment protection than homes, which are considered a person’s most private sphere. Federal courts have been divided on this question and the Supreme Court has not ruled on it until now.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/evangerstmann/2021/02/05/supreme-court-will-decide-whether-police-can-enter-a-home-to-seize-guns-without-a-warrant/?fbclid=IwAR3LLcehUSPLJDjT0_rVTkrNxp-eRBVc7uzFxVvEB8N3mFC-bubUwj8kVK4&sh=4d99c7b55bb4

This is actually the same “doctrine” Putnam County is asserting in the Michael Walker open carry case, which is being heard at the 4th Circuit in early March. Violate the 4th Amendment? No biggie, just claim you were looking out for the community…..

Cops ABUSE Walmart Shopper in front of his Crying Toddler

Brand-new police body-cam footage shows an outrageous detainment and arrest of an innocent guy shopping in Walmart with his poor toddler. I break it down, explain some of the relevant law, and show what happened. This couldn’t have gone much worse. Multiple Fourth Amendment violations….. and then there’s Walmart.

Reasonable suspicion is required to perform an investigative detention. Probable cause is required to perform a warrantless arrest. The “Graham Factors” are assessed to analyze the legality of the use of force which occurred. I’d guess the police here will fail miserably on all three.

Chicago PD Search Warrant Video and the Law on Wrong Address Search Warrants and Sloppy Police Work

Police officers with the Chicago PD traumatize a nude woman, who was just minding her own business in her home, which is caught on Video via bodycams. Her lawyer then dismisses her case because he misunderstood the law. Oops. You may have seen this case in the news, but I go behind the headlines and examine the incompetence not reported in the news, and explain what the law is for civil rights lawsuits following search warrant cases where there’s a wrong address and plain ‘ole incompetence.

You have to either allege that the warrant was invalid, or if that can’t be done, you have to attack the affidavit supporting the warrant. To succeed, Plaintiffs must prove Defendants “deliberately or with a ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ made material false statements in [their] affidavit” which were necessary to the magistrate’s finding of probable cause. Miller, 475 F.3d at 627 (quoting Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155–56 (1978). Or, Plaintiffs must show Defendants omitted “material facts with the intent to make, or with reckless disregard of whether they thereby made, the affidavit misleading.’” Id.

“To determine materiality, a court must excise the offending inaccuracies and insert the facts recklessly omitted, and then determine whether or not the ‘corrected’ warrant affidavit would establish probable cause.” Id. (internal quotations removed). “If the ‘corrected’ warrant affidavit establishes probable cause, no civil liability lies against the officer.”

“Reckless disregard can be established by evidence that an officer acted with a high degree of awareness of a statement’s probable falsity,” meaning an officer had “serious doubts as to the truth of his statements or had obvious reasons to doubt the accuracy of the information he reported.” Id. (internal quotations removed). For omissions, “reckless disregard can be established by evidence that a police officer failed to inform the judicial officer of facts [he] knew would negate probable cause.” Id. (internal quotations removed). However, negligence or innocent mistake “will not provide a basis for a constitutional violation.” Id. (quoting Franks, 438 U.S. at 171).