The military judge suppressed the drugs that the security forces found in the pouch, ruling that the security forces had exceeded the scope of the written instructions providing for the gate inspection. The government appealed the military judge's ruling under Article 62.
In a unanimous opinion written by the recently retired Judge Soybel, AFCCA reversed. The court ruled:
We hold the military judge erred in ruling, as a matter of law, Security Forces personnel conducting base entry control point inspections are limited to looking inside of a vehicle's compartments and may not inspect other containers in the vehicle. Specifically, in this case we hold it was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment for Security Forces personnel to inspect inside the appellee's closed glasses pouch for contraband as part of conducting a lawful inspection of vehicles entering Cannon Air Force Base.Id., slip op. at 3 (footnote omitted).
AFCCA applied the Supreme Court's four-part test from Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979), to determine the appropriateness of the inspection: "Courts must consider the scope of the particular intrusion, the manner in which it [was] conducted, the justification for initiating it and the place in which it [was] conducted." Burney, slip op. at 4 (alterations in original).