CAAF affirms in Huntzinger, but declines to find a blanket combat zone exception to the Fourth Amendment
CAAF has released its opinion in United States v. Huntzinger, No. 09-0589/AR, available here. The opinion affirms ACCA’s ruling. Chief Judge Effron wrote for a unanimous court.
The opinion declined to exempt combat zone living quarters from any Fourth Amendment protection:
[T]he granted issues concern the unique powers of search and seizure granted to military commanders under the application of the Fourth Amendment to members of the armed forces. These rules apply in domestic and deployed locations. Although the application of the rules and the exceptions therein depend upon the context, there is no general exception for locations or living quarters in a combat zone.
Huntzinger, slip op. at 8-9 (internal citation omitted). In affirming, CAAF expressly declined to rely on the military judge’s alternate ruling “that Appellant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his living quarters.” Id., slip op. at 9. Under the facts of this case, CAAF held that the military judge appropriately concluded that the commanding officer “had a substantial basis for making a probable cause determination to authorize the search.” Id., slip op. at 15.