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Amicus Briefs

Torcivia v. Suffolk County

NCLA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition for certiorari urging the high court to resolve a circuit court split regarding whether and when a “special-needs exception” to the Fourth Amendment justifies home entry and seizure by the government without a warrant.

NCLA argued that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit erred in its conclusion, and disregarded the precedent set by the Supreme Court when it upheld the “special-needs exception.” Petitioner Wayne Torcivia had no history of mental illness and was suspected of no crime, but the police proceeded to enter his home 12 hours after he was removed from his residence and seized his lawfully-owned firearms from a locked safe without judicial authorization or his consent.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Fourth Amendment protects an individual’s privacy in a variety of settings—no setting is more clearly defined than that bounded by the unambiguous physical dimensions of an individual’s home. The Second Circuit misread the Supreme Court’s use of the “special needs” phrase. Other than for prisoners on probation, the Supreme Court has not applied a “special needs” argument to permit a warrantless home entry and seizure in the absence of exigency or consent—neither of which was present here. Once Mr. Torcivia was removed from his home, the firearms locked in his safe were not an immediate danger to himself or others. NCLA asked the Supreme Court to review and reverse the Second Circuit’s decision.

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer

Motion for Leave to File Brief and Brief Amicus Curiae of theNew Civil Liberties Alliance in Support of Petitioner

July 5, 2022 | Read More


NCLA Calls on SCOTUS to Block Warrantless Exception to Home Search and Seizure

July 6, 2022 | Read More



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