A Cranston gun owner will have his weapons returned to him along with $2,500 in damages and $2,000 for attorneys' fees after a settlement between the City of Cranston and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU today announced that it has settled its lawsuit against the City of Cranston on behalf of Robert Machado, whose guns were seized by police last September after a rescue call to his house. A friend called 911 to report that Machado might be suicidal. Machado agreed to go to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, but insisted that his friend had misconstrued a conversation he had. He was subsequently released from the hospital and no problems were found.
Meanwhile police seized for safekeeping a variety of weapons from Machado's house, the ACLU said in a release, including firearms and a collection of samurai swords.
Eager to have his possessions returned, Machado followed up by obtaining a letter from his psychotherapist that he had never “demonstrated suicidal tendencies or thoughts,” and “there should be no concern” returning his weapons. The police still refused to release them and advised Machado that he would need to obtain a court order to get them back. After further unsuccessful efforts to get his items returned, Machado contacted the ACLU, leading to the lawsuit which had challenged the police department’s practices on constitutional grounds, the ACLU said.
"We were very happy to have gotten a relatively quick and favorable result for Mr. Machado.," said ACLU Lawyer Thomas W. Lyons. "However, the resolution of this case does not address whether there are any circumstances under which police departments may legally cease and retain weapons held by law-abiding citizens. That issue may have to be resolved in another case.”