Seizure of Property

Overview of seizure of property:

  1. Seizure of PropertyProbable cause to seize. Probable cause to seize property or evidence exists when there is a reasonable belief that the property or evidence is an unlawful weapon, contraband, evidence of crime, or might be used to resist apprehension or to escape. Mil. R. Evid. 316(b).
    United States v. Mons , 14 M.J. 575 (N.M.C.M.R. 1982). Probable cause existed to seize bloody clothing cut from accused’s body during emergency room treatment.
  2. Effects of unlawful seizure. If there is no probable cause the seizure is illegal and the evidence seized is suppressed under Mil. R. Evid. 311. I. External Impoundment. Reasonable to secure a room (“freeze the scene”) pending an authorized search to prevent the removal or destruction of evidence.
    United States v. Hall , 50 M.J. 247 (C.A.A.F. 1999). But freezing the scene does not mean that investigators have unrestricted authorization to search crime scene without a proper warrant/authorization.
    See Flippo v. West Virginia , 528 U.S. 11 (1999) (holding that no general crime scene exception exists). J. Seizure (Apprehension) of Persons.