Published July, 2014
Unger v. Ziemniak, 27 M.J. 349, (C.M.A. 1989)
This case involves a female Navy officer who was charged with willfully disobeying a lawful order given to her by a superior. The order was for her to give a urine sample (for a drug test) under “direct observation” by another female service member, who was of a lower rank. She refused the order because, in her view, it constituted fraternization and demeaned her status as a Navy officer. She argued that requiring her to provide a urine sample under those conditions constituted an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The U.S. Court of Military Appeals Court concluded that because of the importance and scope of the drug-testing program in the armed services it was not unreasonable for the Navy to require direct observation when urine specimens were collected. The Court, however, also held that it must be determined whether an order given to a soldier required compliance under conditions that were “humiliating and degrading.” This seems to leave open the possibility that an otherwise lawful order would in fact be unlawful and considered illegal if it was determined that the order was to be carried out under humiliating and degrading conditions.
Copyright Information: CHLP encourages the broad use and sharing of resources. Please credit CHLP when using these materials or their content. and do not alter, adapt or present as your work without prior permission from CHLP.
Legal Disclaimer: CHLP makes an effort to ensure legal information is correct and current, but the law is regularly changing, and the accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. The legal information in a given resource may not be applicable to all situations and is not—and should not be relied upon—as a substitute for legal advice.