Just because there is a search warrant doesn’t mean they can search whatever they want! CAAF to hear my argument this week.
This week I am set to argue in front of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) on behalf of my client, Captain Eppes, an Air Force officer. In this case, special agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) went beyond the scope of a search warrant when they searched my client’s personal bags. In February 2013, agents of the AFOSI requested authorization from a military magistrate to search my client’s person, automobile and personal bags. The military magistrate authorized a search CPT Eppes’ person and automobile, however, did not specifically authorize a search of his personal bags as requested. Regardless, the special agents proceeded to search CPT Eppes’ personal bags along with his person and automobile. This is called going “beyond the scope” of the search warrant. Search warrants have limits. A search warrant will specifically state what agents or officers are allowed to search. Therefore, if you or your loved one finds their property being searched based on a warrant, make sure you read it carefully. The warrant specifically dictates what can be searched and if agents or officers go beyond the warrant, they may be searching illegally. In CPT Eppes case, I will argue in front of CAAF this week, that the Air Force agents conducted an illegal search when they searched his personal bags. The agents specifically requested to search the bags along with CPT Eppes and his car. However, the military magistrate only authorized a search of his person and automobile. When the agents searched his bags anyway, they went beyond the scope of the warrant. I will therefore argue that they violated my client’s Fourth Amendment rights and that any evidence discovered during the illegal search should not have been used against him at his court-martial. The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the agents in this case acted in “good faith” when they searched the bags because they believed that the warrant authorized the search they had asked for. My client and I decided to further appeal this decision and will see what CAAF decides. If you or a loved one was convicted in a court-martial based on evidence that you believe was improperly searched and/or seized, contact me now. You need experience by your side to argue this complex issue. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.