Federal/Supreme Court Decisions

Important US Supreme Court and Federal Court decisions

Castle Rock v. Gonzales, this case details why it isn’t law enforcement’s “job” to protect you – even if you have a restraining order.

Warren v. District of Columbia – Similar as above.  Officers went to a scene, failed to investigate a report of a crime.  Were called back and failed to even be dispatched to the crime.  All in all, case details 14 hours of rape to several women.  The court stated that official police personnel and the government employing them owe no duty to victims of criminal acts and thus are not liable for a failure to provide adequate police protection unless a special relationship exists.

District of Columbia v. Heller, landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use within the home in federal enclaves.

McDonald v. Chicago, The Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.

Terry v. Ohio, This case isn’t necessarily solely firearms related, but does involve physical and vehicle searches by law enforcement.  This is indeed important for anyone that legally carries a firearm.  This case focuses on what is “reasonable suspicion” for a search.

Delaware v. Prouse, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the police stopping vehicles for no reason other than to check the drivers’ licenses and registrations was unconstitutional.

Brown v. Texas, United States Supreme Court case in which the Court determined that the defendant’s arrest in El Paso County, Texas for a refusal to identify himself, after being seen and questioned in a high crime area, was not based on a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and thus violated the Fourth Amendment.

Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Important follow up to Terry  V. Ohio.  held that statutes requiring suspects to disclose their names during police investigations did not violate the Fourth Amendment if the statute first required reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement.  Audio argument and opinion can be found here.

United States v. Lopez, the first United States Supreme Court case since the New Deal to set limits to Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.  This case forced changes in the “Gun Free School Zones Act”.

United States v DeBerry, Deals with the Fourth Amendment and whether an officer can search someone based on a vague tip without actual observation of whether the person is carrying a firearm or not.  Interesting comments about how this would play out in states where concealed carry is allowed (all 49 of them).

United States v Black, Fourth Circuit Finds That Carrying a Firearm in an Open-Carry State Does Not Create Reasonable Suspicion and Provides Thorough Analysis of the “Free to Leave” Standard of Seizure.  Another description available here.

Haynes v. United States, Essentially, criminals don’t have to follow the same laws as law abiding citizens regarding the registration of firearms.  If a felon is prohibited from owning a firearm, then registering one would violate their fifth amendment rights to self incrimination.


CT Specific

CT Department of Public Safety v Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (re McWhorter) – In this case, the state didn’t agree with the BFPE and filed an appeal through the Superior Court.  The court then decided that  there was no reason as all the procedures were conducted fairly as outlined via our CT Statutes.