Searches for Guns at the Home of a Suspect’s Family Member

I blogged about Messerschmidt v. Millender when the panel decision was handed down and then when the en banc decision was handed down, so I thought I’d note that the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear the question. The first question presented listed in the cert petition, which summarizes the case well, is:

Whether police officers are entitled to qualified immunity when they obtained a facially valid warrant to search for firearms, firearm-related materials, and gang-related items in the residence of a gang member and felon who had threatened to kill his girlfriend and fired a sawed-off shotgun at her?

It’s possible that the Court will just decide that the officers did have qualified immunity, which is to say that the law was unsettled enough that they shouldn’t be held liable. (The Ninth Circuit had held that the warrant was so clearly invalid that they could be held liable.) But it’s possible that the Court will reconsider the underlying question, which is whether the warrant was indeed clearly invalid under the Fourth Amendment.

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