Border Searches

  1. border searchesCustoms inspections.
    1. Customs inspections are constitutional border searches.
      United States v.Ramsey , 431 U.S. 606 (1977) (finding a longstanding right of sovereign to protect itself).
    2. Customs inspections in the military. Border searches for customs or immigration purposes may be conducted when authorized by Congress. Mil. R. Evid. 314(b);
      United States v. Williamson , 28 M.J. 511 (A.C.M.R. 1989). Military police customs inspector’s warrantless search of household goods was reasonable since inspection was conducted pursuant to DOD Customs Regulations.
  2. Gate searches overseas.
    1. General rule. Installation commanders overseas may authorize searches of persons and property entering and exiting the installation to ensure security, military fitness, good order and discipline. Mil. R. Evid. 314(c). (1) Primary purpose test is applicable. (2) Subterfuge rule is inapplicable.
    2. United States v. Stringer
      , 37 M.J. 310 (C.M.A. 1993). Gate searches overseas are border searches; they need not be based on written authorization and broad discretion can be given to officials conducting the search.