Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New CAAF decision: United States v. Macomber

Today CAAF released its decision in United States v. Macomber, __ M.J. ___, No. 08-0072/AF (C.A.A.F. Feb. 24, 2009). It's a 4-1 affirmance with the opinion of the court written by Judge Baker and a dissent by Judge Ryan. Here's a link.

Macomber presents the narrow legal question of "whether the military judge correctly ruled that the search authority had a substantial basis for determining that probable cause existed." Id., slip op. at 10. Yes, the majority ruled in a highly case-specific opinion. Id., slip op. at 13-18. No, Judge Ryan contended in a highly case-specific dissent.

Macomber continues this term's trend of narrow opinions that will have limited precedential effect. I don't mean to at all suggest that that's a bad thing; after all, it is judges' job to decide the cases before them.


Dew_Process said...

Interesting dissent from Judge Ryan. But why would any defense counsel ever enter into a Stip on a contested probable cause issue? There's little to lose and everything to gain - especially on the staleness issue not being disclosed. Unless there's a favorable PTA, how does that benefit the Accused?

Anonymous said...

Interesting Keystone Cops moment from OSI - the flash goes off when they try to take Macomber's picture after he picked up the package. But for that OOPS, he would have taken the box back to his dorm, the search would have occurred there, & Judge Ryan may have decided differently (see dissent n. 3).