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Posse Comitatus Act

color of law

Accomplished Advocate
Oct 7, 2007
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
June 18, 1878 P.L. 45-263:
Sec. 15. From and after the passage of this act it shall not 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; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section and any person wilfully violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding two years or by both such fine and imprisonment
The actual wording including no period at the end.

Here is what it says now.
18 USC 1385: Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Black’s Law Dictionary, First Edition, 1891:
Posse comitatus. The power or force of the county. The entire population of a county above the age of fifteen, which a sheriff may summon to his assistance in certain cases, as to aid him in keeping the peace, in pursuing and arresting felons, etc.

Black’s Law Dictionary, Ninth Edition, 2009:
Posse comitatus. A group of citizens who are called together to help the sheriff keep the peace or conduct rescue operations.

Posse Comitatus Act. A federal law that, with a few exceptions, prohibits the Army or Air Force from directly participating in civilian law-enforcement operations, as by making arrests, conducting searches, or seizing evidence. The Act was originally enacted in 1878. It does not usually apply to members of the Navy, the National Guard, or the Coast Guard. 18 USCA § 1385.

P/S Ignore Doug!