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.