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Use of Marshals, Troops, and Other Federal Personnel for Law Enforcement in Mississippi

Date of Issuance:

The problems of using large numbers of federal civilian law enforcement personnel in Mississippi are more practical than legal. So long as they confine themselves to investigation and prosecution of federal crimes, there is no legal problem. The practical problem is whether their presence serves to aggravate the emotions of the populace or alienate local law enforcement officials.

On the factual assumption that there is a complete breakdown of state law enforcement as a result of Klan activity and Klan connections with local sheriffs and deputies, the President could, as a legal matter, invoke the authority of sections 332 and 333 of title 10 to use military troops in Mississippi. There is considerable information available that could be used to support that assumption as to some areas in Mississippi. But in view of the extreme seriousness of the use of those sections, the government should have more evidence than it presently has of the inability of state and local officials to maintain law and order—as a matter of wisdom as well as of law.

Updated July 9, 2014