The Columns

U.S. Appeals Court for Armed Forces to Hear Case at W&L, Law Student to Argue

— by on October 14th, 2015

On Tuesday, October 20, Washington and Lee School of Law will host the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for oral argument. During the session, 3L law student Loren Peck will appear before the Court arguing issues laid out in an amicus brief filed in support of the appellant.

The session will begin at 12:00 pm in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The session is open to the public. Use of electronic devices is prohibited. Computers and backpacks are not allowed. No audio recordings or photography is permitted while the Court is in session.

The Court will hear a challenge involving a Fourth Amendment claim in the case of U.S. v Matthew Hoffmann. Hoffmann, a Marine corporal, was convicted of five charges related to the solicitation of a minor for sexual activity and possession of child pornography.  Hoffmann claims that some of the evidence used to support his conviction was seized without proper consent or a search authorization.

The first appellate court to hear the case was the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA).  The NMCCA affirmed Corporal Hoffmann’s conviction, concluding that even if the Government had violated the Fourth Amendment the evidence in the case would have been inevitably discovered.

Loren Peck, a law student, authored an amicus brief under the supervision of W&L law professor Tim MacDonnell in support of the appellant’s Fourth Amendment claims. Peck was invited by the Court to argue his position and will appear alongside counsel for the Government and Corporal Hoffmann.

Specifically, Peck argues that the military judge abused his discretion and the NMCCA erred in their determination that the seizure and search met the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.