Thursday, November 5, 2015

Suppression not required when NCIS violates the Posse Comitatus Act

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, has found a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act in the involvement of Navy personnel in civilian law enforcement. The opinion in United States v. Dreyer begins:

This case requires us to decide whether a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent’s involvement in civilian law enforcement constitutes a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, and if so, whether that violation warrants excluding evidence obtained as a result of the involvement. We have no trouble concluding that the facts giving rise to the criminal charges in this case present clear violations of a congressional directive prohibiting the use of the military in civilian law enforcement. We decline to compel suppression because the facts of this case do not demonstrate that suppression is needed to deter future violations. We affirm the district court’s denial of Dreyer’s motion to suppress.
The acid test will be whether NCIS stops participating in civilian law enforcement. 

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