Military officials raided Marine law offices, may have compromised cases – Marine Corps – Stripes

WASHINGTON — An unusual government search of Marine Corps defense attorneys’ offices at California’s Camp Pendleton could cast a cloud over dozens of criminal cases.

The search May 2, which lasted about two and a half hours, included investigators opening more than 100 case files compiled by defense attorneys, Marine Corps officers say. The search went beyond what was necessary and exceeded applicable legal standards, officers think.

“It’s unacceptable,” Lt. Col. Clay Plummer, the Marine Corps’ regional defense counsel for the West Coast, said in an interview. “We’re going to litigate this, to make sure this never happens again.”

The courtroom fallout might take time to settle, as defense attorneys with Camp Pendleton’s Legal Service Support Team Echo consider challenges for each of the cases in which investigators allegedly accessed files. Among other arguments, the defense attorneys could charge interference with privileged communications.

via Military officials raided Marine law offices, may have compromised cases – Marine Corps – Stripes.

This strikes me as a pretty egregious sin by the trial counsel (that is, the prosecutor) and were I the judge, I’d be pretty damn tempted to throw out the cases that were potentially compromised.  And I would surely like to see the order permitting the search. It sure seems like the investigators took advantage of the chance to go on a fishing expedition.

4 thoughts on “Military officials raided Marine law offices, may have compromised cases – Marine Corps – Stripes”

  1. Read the whole story and am aghast.
    1. Ham-handed execution of a search
    2. Didn’t get a judge to authorize, went for base commander. Legal, perhaps. Seriously lacking compared to the alternative. (Perhaps the judge said “no”?)
    3. Compromised privileged communications.

    Result: Justice miscarriage. Accused who are actually guilty go free on technicality. Those who aren’t accused are implicated and subject to punishment and/or administrative actions by association. Nice job, Ace. In the future, stop “helping”. And, may you receive the same blessings of liberty as those you dispense to others.

  2. When the Commandant does similar, where are the constraints on others acting in such ways? This falls first and foremost at Amos’ feet, irrespective of whether or not he even knew of this situation or any of the cases. Undue command influence is legal misconduct. And when it is all but excused when perpetrated by the senior man in the organization, consider it condoned.

  3. That’s pretty egregious. What was the prosecutor thinking? Short of a life at stake, I can’t imagine any judge being happy with this.

    1. If they had just gone in and retrieved the phone, that might be passable. But the additional 2 hours seems a good bit over the line.

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