Military

I have not been in the military so my knowledge of military law and base security is limited. I, however, have received numerous requests from military personnel requesting case law. I have added this section to address some of the common questions I have received.

US v. Crowley, 9 F.2d 927 (N.D. Ga. 1922)(no link)-The court ruled that the military can conduct a non-consensual security gate search of a vehicle without a warrant before allowing the vehicle to enter the installation.

Reid v. Covert, 354 US 1 (1957)-Prosecuting U.S. civilians in military court is a violation of the Constitution. In this case a wife murdered her military husband on a US military base in a foreign country. Civilians are not subject to military law.

United States v. Bowie, 14 USCMA 631, 34 CMR 411 (1964)(no link)-The Court held that members on the Temporary Disability Retired List are subject to court-martial jurisdiction under Article 2, which includes jurisdiction over retired members who are entitled to pay.

US v. Grisby, 335 F. 2d 652 -4th Circuit (1964)-Investigators developed probable cause that Grisby had stolen property in his base residence. The Chief of Staff on behalf of the commanding General ordered the search. Under 152, ch. XXVII, Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, 1951, promulgated by the President, with Congressional authorization, a search of property located within a military installation and occupied by persons subject to military law is valid when authorized by a commanding officer having jurisdiction over the place where the property is. The authorization of the Chief of Staff, acting for the commanding General, was in accordance with the Manual for Courts-Martial and validated, as a matter of military law, the search it approved.
The Judge Advocate General of the Army has frequently expressed the opinion that a commanding officer has an unqualified right to enter and search quarters of military personnel on the reservation he commands. This is said to be an attribute of his military authority and essential to the maintenance of order and discipline. The military agreed to refer the case to civilian court. The evidence is still admissible even though Grisby was turned over to a civilian court for trial. The civilian court is not confined to civilian rules of evidence when dealing with a case developed under military rules.

United States v. Vaughan, 475 F2d 1262 (10th Cir.)(1973)-The base was on restriction. No visitors were allowed on base. Vaughan tried to get on base to pick up his wife for lunch. Although he was going to be denied entry, security searched his vehicle anyway without a warrant or consent. Marijuana was found. The court ruled that it was an unlawful search and ordered the evidence suppressed. Held: While we agree, as we said before, that once within the area where security was imposed, a search conducted without probable cause and without consent could be proper. Also the submission to search could be imposed as a valid condition to gaining access to the base. However, once a determination has been made not to allow defendant entry to the base, any search conducted thereafter must meet Fourth Amendment standards. Probable Cause to search is required.  The court did favorably mention US v. Crowley emphasizing its current validity. 

US v. Burrow, 396 F. Supp. 890 - Dist. Court, D. Maryland (1975)-civilians on a military installation are subject to military regulations regarding searches. The base commander can order the probable cause search of a civilian owned vehicle on the base.

Greer v. Spock, 424 U. S. 828 (1976)-A commanding officer has the historically unquestioned power to exclude civilians from the area of his command, any notion that federal military installations, like municipal streets and parks, have traditionally served as a place for free public assembly and communication of thoughts by private citizens is false, and therefore respondents had no generalized constitutional right to make political speeches or distribute leaflets…

Goldman v. Weinberger, 475 U.S. 503 (1986)-The military can ban the wearing of non-uniform religious items, in this case a yarmulke. The First Amendment does not require the military to accommodate such practices in the face of its view that they would detract from the uniformity sought by the dress regulations.

Weiss v. United States, (92-1482), 510 U.S. 163 (1994)-Military judges do not need to be appointed per the Appointments Clause, U. S. Const., Art. II, §2, cl. 2 by the President with the advise and consent of the Senate. Military judges are already commissioned military officers when they were assigned to serve as judges, and thus they had already been appointed pursuant to the Clause.

Edmond v. United States, (96-262), 520 U.S. 651 (1997)-The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals had two civilian judges appointed to the court by the General Counsel of the Department of Transportation. This did not violate the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. The Appointments Clause gives the President the exclusive power to select principal officers by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, but authorizes Congress to "vest the Appointment of . . . inferior Officers . . . in the Heads of Departments."

US v. Daniels, No. 03-0614 USCAAF (2004)-Daniels showed a vial of cocaine to his roommates, and then he hid the vile in a snuff can and placed it in his nightstand drawer. One of his roommates later told his Training Instructor about it. The Instructor told him to retrieve the vial and bring it to him. The contents of the vial tested positive for cocaine. Daniels was arrested. The Court held that Daniels had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the drawer. The Court further held that the roommate was acting as a government agent on behalf of the Instructor, and therefore, engaged in an unlawful search and seizure of the vial.

Huntzinger v. US Army, No. 09-0589 (2010)-At the outset, we note that the granted issues concern the unique powers of search and seizure granted to military commanders under the application of the Fourth Amendment to members of the armed forces. See, e.g., M.R.E. 311-317. These rules apply in domestic and deployed locations. Although the application of the rules and the exceptions therein depend upon the context, there is no general exception for locations or living quarters in a combat zone. See United States v. Poundstone, 22 C.M.A. 277, 279, 46 C.M.R. 277, 279 (1973).

US v. Rendon, No. 09-4687 (4th Cir. 2010)-Rendon, an army soldier, was assigned to the HHC, 46th Adjutant General Battalion for out processing. Rendon was transferred to the unit to be discharged from the Army for medical reasons, having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. One of the procedures required by all soldiers is to surrender all electronic devices for inspection. Rendon had a Zune MP3 player which was collected and examined. Child pornography was found on it. He later admitted more images were on his home computer. Rendon tried to get the images suppressed because of unlawful search of his MP3 player.

Held: In this case, as noted above, there is no evidence in the record that anyone had a particularized suspicion of Rendon when he was first inspected, nor is there any evidence that he was treated any differently from any other soldier entering the unit. The search of his personal property was conducted pursuant to a regularly scheduled intake protocol for new members of the unit, and the search stayed within the parameters authorized by the commanding officer in the DSCB Handbook and defined in Military Rule of Evidence 313. Even though a purpose of the search was the detection of contraband, it appropriately related to the good order and discipline of the unit. The search was, therefore, a valid military inspection, conducted as part of the regular procedure performed for all entrants into the unit to ensure discipline within the unit and service members’ compliance with military rules.

US v. Apel, No. 12-1038 (SCOTUS, 2014)-Vandenberg Air Force Base has been designated a “closed base,” meaning that civilians may not enter without express permission. An easement was granted to allow civilians to use the highways that go through the base. The Air Force also designated an area within the easement for peaceful protests to occur. Apel was barred from the base for vandalism and trespassing. Apel, however, continued to enter the protest area. Apel was charged and convicted for reentering a military installation after being ordered not to do so. The Nineth Circuit Court overturned the conviction because the Base Commander's authority does not extend to the highways and protest area.

The Supreme Court held: A “military. . . installation” for purposes of §1382 encompasses the commanding officer’s area of responsibility, and it includes Vandenberg’s highways and protest area.