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Army Lawyer





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n addressing the issues of obtaining bodily evidence, such as bodily fluids, from a suspect, Rule 312 of the Military Rules of Evidence must be considered in conjunction with the issues of self-incrimination, due process, and the Fourth Amendment. The Rule describes the procedures for collection of bodily evidence of service members. For example, a service member may not invoke the right against self-incrimination for external bodily evidence, but may when bodily fluids or cavity searches are requested. Any nonconsensual search may be conducted if it is both reasonable and performed under one of the authorized procedures of Rule 312. Any invasive search must also be conducted by a medical professional. Treating bodily evidence collection as a Fourth Amendment issue from the outset and using extreme care in conducting search and seizure helps avoid self-incrimination and due process issues.

Recommended Citation

David A. Schlueter, Bodily Evidence and Rule 312, M.R.E., Army Law 35 (May 1980).

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