The Posse Comitatus Act: A Study of Restrictions on Military Enforcement of Civil Law
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
Pagination or Media Count:
Military personnel are restrained from assisting in enforcement of civil law by the Posse Comitatus Act. Violators may be subjected to a 10,000 fine andor two years in prison. Military commanders, operations officers, and chiefs of police, routinely have to make decisions on the use of their personnel which may violate this law and place them in jeopardy of prosecution. Without a thorough knowledge of the authorizations and prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act, this jeopardy is increased. Since single-source reference is provided to guide military personnel in making the decisions, incorrect decisions may be made either providing unlawful assistance or denying authorized assistance. This thesis provides comprehensive lists of authorizations and prohibitions which may be used to make those decisions. The author concludes that, although the Posse Comitatus Act seems straight forward in its prohibitions, court decisions, legal opinions, and legislation have resulted in twice the number of specific authorizations and prohibitions. A list of these authorizations and prohibitions should be provided by the military services to the personnel who make such decisions, and military services should update these lists annually.
- Sociology and Law
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations