2016 MCM Executive Order

The President has signed an Executive Order amending the Manual for Courts-Martial (which includes the rules of evidence) for 2016.

Of significance, it will be even harder to challenge the admission of “confessions” or “admissions” of the accused.

The current rule states that: “evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful search or seizure made by a person acting in a governmental capacity is inadmissible against the accused” if the accused makes a timely objection and has an adequate privacy interest. Mil. R. Evid. 311(a) (2015). The new rule adds the following:

“exclusion of the evidence results in appreciable deterrence of future unlawful searches or seizures and the benefits of such deterrence outweigh the costs to the justice system.”

Mil. R. Evid. 311(a)(3) (2016).

Overall, prosecutors will be pleased with the changes.  It is rare for an accused’s admissions to an MCIO to be excluded as evidence, one suspects such rulings will become non-existent.