Gary Daigneault discussed the ramifications of this joint effort today on his 107.7 F.M. Talk Back show. Mr. Daigneault and his callers seemed to be very concerned. On its face, one may think this is a good idea. But it’s not. I agree with Mr. Daigneault and his callers. Most of which seemed to think this is a very bad idea. Mr. Daigneault contacted a Constitutional Law expert, and the attorney informed him this is absolutely unconstitutional. It’s NOT permitted under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 8 U.S.C. § 1385. It’s my understanding that the Constitutional Law expert said CHP officers could be arrested out there working with the Military Police because it’s a “felony.”
Democracy depends upon abiding by the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, I challenge anyone to go out there and put a citizens arrest of the CHP officers, then call 9-1-1 and have a sheriff come out and take charge of your prisoner. Just kidding, of course, but a very brazen citizen legally could attempt to such a thing. But don’t even think about it.
Many of his callers vocalized that this joint effort or mutual cooperation between the military and the CHP is going to be very intimidating. They (as I) are very concerned the CHP is going through with this action. It’s not really clear what the specific role of the Military Police will be… To assist; to observe; to train; to make a strong military presence; to take charge of military offenders detained by the CHP? Nonetheless, whatever, it’s unconstitutional; it’s a felony. I contacted the Morongo CHP office.* The dispatcher said the program will be in effect tonight. When I asked here were it was going to be, she said call back tonight after 7:00 P.M. But I politely protested, these DUI check stops are public. She said I have to speak with CHP Public Affairs officer after seven.* A call to the CHP Public Affairs Officer’s number* after seven got a recorded message to call from 9-5 during business hours. Query: why wasn’t I told that?
By the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 20 Stat. 152, 18 U.S.C. § 1385, it was provided that “it shall NOT (emphasis added) be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress… .” The effect of this prohibition, however, was largely nullified by a ruling of the Attorney General “that by Revised Statutes 5298 and 5300 [10 U.S.C. §§ 332, 334] the military forces, under the direction of the President, could be used to assist a marshal. 16 Ops. Atty. Gen. 162.” B. RICH, THE PRESIDENTS AND CIVIL DISORDER 196 n.21 (1941).
Okay, as far as I know the President has not given direction to the local CHP to deploy the USMC on public roads in order to setup a military presence during routine DUI check stops in the Basin. It’s not allowed. Whoever came up with plan in the CHP in my opinion is abusing their powers. Where is the public necessity or authority to do this? There is none — unless the Commander in Chief made the call. It’s also my opinion, the CHP has made a very bad choice in their joint venture with the Marine Corps. Though I have intrinsic belief that the CHP has the very best of intentions, however, good intentions does not override the U.S. Constitution.
I know the Marine Corps has the best of intentions too. But the best of intentions is not cause to trump the Constitution.
Late this afternoon, I spoke with the Provost Marshal office, Corporal Knuesn. He indicated this may happen. I then spoke with the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief, Gunny Sgt. Chris Cox.** He was very cooperative and informative about the mutual efforts of the Military Police and the CHP: “They will be working closely over the month to cut down of traffic accidents,” he said, “the Military Police will observe DUI check points and watch for their own guys. The intent is to have Military Presence out there.”
Gunny Cox explains that Hwy. 62 is one of the most dangerous highways out here. No doubt it is.
The Public Affairs Chief also explained, “they will not participate [assist the CHP] because they are not concerned [lack of jurisdiction] with California law.” I must say, Gunny Sgt. Cox is one extremely nice guy. And his good intentions — to save his guys from injuries or worse — was certainly manifested. May good fortune be with this Marine.
It’s little encroachments like this that undermine the Constitution. Then one day you wake up, and it gone. [See Franklin quote, infra-]. I can see numerous scenarios during those DUI check stops. To name a few: The Military Police go to the aid of the CHP to take down a civilian bad guy. A drunken teen. Unruly tweakers. Will the Military Police be armed? Do they have any sort orders of engagements?
* ** The bottom line: I urge anyone and everyone who believes in the Constitution, United States Codes, and Posse Comitatus — to do something! What can you do? To begin with, I suggest you contact the local Joshua Tree CHP Public Affairs Officer, Officer McLoud, at: 760. 366.3707 and voice your concern. Further, you can contact the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief on the base at: 760.830.5476 or 760. 830.6213. Moreover, contact the Provost Marshal office at: 760.830.4215.
Voice your concerns. That’s just a start. Contact state officials and legislatures. Write letters to the editor.
Thank you, Branson Hunter
“What type of government,” a woman asks, “have you given us?” To which Benjamin Franklin replies: ” A democratic Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” — “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Walter Isaacson (2003)