NCIS Blunder Results In Release Of Pedophile

Many police mistakes lead to the dismissal of criminal charges.  This case exemplifies this rule .  Many people would be offended by the result, though not a Long Beach case per se, the agency certainly as well known in the community.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Agent Logan conducted an investigation for online criminal activity in the State of Washington. He found evidence of a computer accessing child pornography and turned the matter over to state law enforcement. Based on evidence initially developed by state authorities acting on Logan’s information, Dreyer was ultimately convicted of federal child pornography charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence.

The appeals court reversed the conviction.  Direct military enforcement of civilian laws is generally prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act. Although the PCA expressly refers only to the Army and Air Force, the Navy and Marines are likewise included because PCA-like restrictions apply as a matter of Department of Defense policy. NCIS agents are similarly restricted even though many are civilians, because they further the Navy’s interests and the NCIS Director reports to the Secretary of the Navy. There is an exception to PCA where the military indirectly assists civilian law enforcement, or where an independent military purpose exists. But Agent Logan’s surveillance of all computers in Washington, which he instigated, was not focused on military or government computers, and was a prohibited direct military enforcement of civilian laws. Further, it was a repeated practice for NCIS to conduct such searches. “The extraordinary nature of the surveillance here demonstrates a need to deter future violations.”   Thanks to CCAP.

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