CAAF decided the Coast Guard case of  United States v. Leahr, 14-0265/CG, __ M.J. __ (CAAFlog case page) (link to slip op.), on Friday, July 25, 2014. A divided court finds that Appellant’s regulatory speedy trial right was not violated in this case because the charges were dismissed and re-preferred, resetting the 120-day speedy trial clock. Additionally, the court finds no improper reason behind the dismissal. The court also rejects – in a brief footnote – a challenge to the impartiality of the military judge. CAAF affirms Appellant’s convictions and the decision of the Coast Guard CCA.

Judge Ryan writes for the court, joined by Chief Judge Baker and Judge Ohlson. Judge Stucky dissents, joined by Judge Erdmann.

Appellant was convicted contrary to his pleas of not guilty, by a general court-martial composed of members with enlisted representation, of one specification of larceny, four specifications of assault consummated by a battery, and two specifications of wrongfully communicating a threat, in violation of Articles 121, 128, and 134. He was acquitted of additional allegations of assault, as well as allegations of burglary and kidnapping. The members sentenced Appellant to confinement for three months, reduction to E-1, and a bad-conduct discharge.

Appellant’s brief to CAAF explained that the charges involved two alleged victims. Most of the charges alleged offenses against Appellant’s fiancee (BM), but one of the assault specifications involved another Coast Guard member (LS). The allegation involving LS wasn’t discovered by the Government until after the Article 32 investigation was complete and Appellant was arraigned on the other charges. The allegation was otherwise unrelated to the case and involved events that occurred a year prior (and Appellant was ultimately acquitted of that offense). But,

 Based on this new allegation, on September 1, 2011, the convening authority signed a document titled, “Withdrawal and Dismissal of Charges Against Appellant],” which stated:

The charges and specifications referred to a general court-martial on 16 June 2011 in the case of United States v. AST2 Jaason M. Leahr, USCG, are hereby withdrawn and dismissed without prejudice. . . . In anticipation of the possibility that this new allegation will cause [Appellant] to become the subject of a newly preferred additional charge which would warrant referral to a court-martial, I desire that the accused to be [sic] tried on all charges at a single trial to best serve the interests of justice and promote judicial economy.

Slip op. at 4. Five days later the original charges were re-preferred, with two changes. The first change was an addition of terminal element language to the Article 134 specifications (it was omitted from the first charge sheet). The second change was the addition of a specification of assault consummated by a battery involving LS. A second Article 32 investigation was conducted, but it only considered the new specification. The charges were then referred to another general court-martial, and Appellant moved to dismiss for improper referral and violation of his regulatory speedy trial right under Rule for Courts-Martial 707. “The military judge denied both motions finding, among other things, that the withdrawal and dismissal of the original charges was valid and for a proper reason.” Slip op. at 5-6. The CCA affirmed, “relying on the fact that the convening authority dismissed the original charges,” and “that the reason for withdrawal and re-referral was greater judicial and cost efficiencies.” Slip op. at 6 (marks and citations omitted).

CAAF then granted review of three issues:

I. Whether the military judge erred in denying the defense motion to dismiss for violation of appellant’s right to speedy trial under RCM 707.

II. Whether the government’s withdrawal of charges and re-referral to another court-martial was in violation of RCM 604(b) because they were previously withdrawn for an improper reason.

III. Whether appellant was denied a fair trial when the military judge twice suggested in front of the members that appellant was guilty, first by “thanking” a witness for his efforts to protect the victim, and then by asking defense counsel before findings whether a witness would be subject to recall as a “sentencing witness.”

Judge Ryan frames the first (and main) issue as a question of fact:

In this case, if the convening authority dismissed the original charges on September 1, 2011, the dismissal reset the speedy trial clock and no violation under R.C.M. 707 occurred. If, however, his action amounted to a withdrawal only, the speedy trial clock was not reset and the 190-day period between the initial preferral on March 1, 2011, and arraignment on all charges on November 8, 2011, violated R.C.M. 707.

Slip op. at 8 (citations omitted). The majority concludes that “on balance . . . the convening authority intended to, and did, dismiss the original charges.” Id.

Read more »

This week at SCOTUS: I’m not aware of any military justice developments at the Supreme Court, where I’m now tracking six cases:

This week at CAAF: The next scheduled oral argument at CAAF (and the first argument of the September 2014 term) is on September 9, 2014. Additionally, CAAF recently published its oral argument calendar for the next term:

September 2014: 9
October 2014: 7, 8, 14, 15, 21
November 2014: 18, 19
December 2014: 9, 10
January 2015: 13, 14, 27
February 2015: 10, 11, 24, 25
March 2015: 17, 18
April 2015: 14, 15, 28, 29
May 2015: 12, 13
June 2015: 9

This week at the ACCA: The Army CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the AFCCA: The Air Force CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the CGCCA: The Coast Guard Trial Docket shows no scheduled oral arguments at the Coast Guard CCA.

This week at the NMCCA: The Navy-Marine Corps CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

On Monday the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected a claim for veterans’ benefits by a petitioner who twice went UA from the Army during the Vietnam era, leading first to a special court-martial, and then to a general court-martial where he received a bad-conduct discharge. Prior to his discharge he suffered hearing loss while working with artillery, was hospitalized, and was issued a hearing aid. After his discharge he sought veterans’ benefits for his hearing loss, but the VA denied the claim due to the circumstances of his discharge. The petitioner then participated in President Ford’s clemency program, leading to a clemency discharge and a full pardon, and reapplied for benefits. But the VA again denied the claim, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims affirmed, based on the underlying misconduct. The Federal Circuit affirms the Veterans Court.

The case is Robertson v. Gibson, No. 2013–7103, __ F.3d. __ (Fed. Cir. Jul. 21, 2014) (link to slip op.).

The opinion begins with a history lesson about the clemency program:

On September 16, 1974, six weeks after taking office, President Ford announced “a Program for the Return of Vietnam Era Draft Evaders and Military Deserters.” Proclamation 4313, 39 Fed. Reg. 33,293, 33,293–95 (Sept. 17, 1974). Its stated purpose was “to bind the Nation’s wounds and to heal the scars of divisiveness” inflicted upon American society during the Vietnam War. Id. at 33,293. Accordingly, President Ford declared that Vietnam-era military deserters and draft evaders would be given “the opportunity to earn return to their country, their communities, and their families, upon their agreement to a period of alternate service in the national interest, together with an acknowledgment of their allegiance to the country and its Constitution.” Id. The President’s program was carefully crafted, recognizing that “[u]nconditional amnesty would have created more ill feeling than it would have eased. Reconciliation was what was needed, and reconciliation could only [have] come from a reasoned middle ground.” PCB Report 1.

Slip op. at 3. The petitioner participated in the program and received “full pardon pursuant to an executive grant of conditional clemency.” Slip op. at 8. He “relies heavily on the fact that the document [he recieved] contains the phrase ‘full pardon.’” Slip op. at 11. But the court finds that “when read in context, there can be little doubt that Mr. Robertson’s pardon was intended to have limited effect with respect to his entitlement to veterans’ benefits.” Slip op. at 13. It notes that the petitioner “had not previously acquired any right to veterans’ benefits at the time of his pardon. In fact, whether Mr. Robertson might have been eligible for veterans’ benefits absent his 1967 AWOL conviction is entirely speculative because he had nearly a year remaining on his term of service at the time of his discharge.” Slip op. at 14. And it finds that under President Ford’s clemency program, “entitlement to veterans’ benefits under the program was meant to be the exception, not the rule.” Slip op. at 14.

The court concludes:

Nevertheless, pardoned individuals, like Mr. Robertson, remained eligible to apply for benefits from the VA and to appeal if the VA denied their applications. PCB Report 13. Similarly, applicants remained eligible to seek further upgrades to their discharge statuses from the appropriate military review boards. Id.; see also 10 U.S.C. § 1552 (1970). In fact, Mr. Robertson sought such an upgrade, but the ABCMR noted that “his record of service . . . did not meet the standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty for Army personnel for the Board to grant his current request.” J.A. 574.

Slip op. at 15.

In a lengthy published opinion issued last month in United States v. Cron, No. 38138, __ M.J. __ (A.F.Ct.Crim.App. Jun. 27, 2014) (link to slip op.), the Air Force CCA affirms the adjudged and approved sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the appellant’s convictions, entered in accordance with his pleas of guilty, of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, premeditated murder, and wrongfully impeding an investigation, in violation of Articles 81, 118, and 134. The appellant was also sentenced to reduction to E-1, total forfeitures, and a dishonorable discharge.

The CCA considers numerous thorny issues, ultimately finding no prejudicial error. The appellant, “a 30-year-old Staff Sergeant (SSgt) stationed at his fourth duty station,” brutally murdered his paramour’s husband, Technical Sergeant Eccleston. Slip op. at 2. The murder was planned with the victim’s wife, and the appellant tried to cover it up, but he eventually confessed and a capital referral followed. There were extensive PTA negotiations to avoid the possibility of a death sentence. The appellant’s third PTA offer was accepted, making the case non-capital but providing no other protections. In addition, the PTA included provisions that waived most objections, waived all waivable motions, waived discovery, waived continued funding for expert consultants, and required the appellant to answer questions about, and testify against, his paramour.

The appellant did not object to the PTA at trial, but on appeal he asserted that the PTA created “an ‘empty ritual’ rather than a full sentencing proceeding,” and that “the potential for the death penalty in this case caused a coercive environment during the PTA negotiations.” Slip op. at 11. The CCA rejects these arguments, explaining that “waiver of evidentiary objections is a permissible term of a pretrial agreement,” slip op. at 13 (marks and citations omitted), “a promise to testify as a witness in the trial of another person is a permissible term of a PTA,” slip op. at 14 (marks and citations omitted), “a criminal defendant may knowingly and voluntarily waive many of the most fundamental protections afforded by the Constitution,” slip op. at 15 (marks and citations omitted), and noted that because it was the appellant who proposed these terms, the court is “not inclined to deprive the appellant of the benefit of his bargain.” Slip op. at 15.

The PTA provisions were certainly broad (perhaps even to an unprecedented degree), but I think it’s hard to second-guess the appellant’s decision to agree to them. Still, one provision gets special attention from the CCA. The appellant agreed to “waive my right to all future discovery with the exception of discovery pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and R.C.M. 701(a)(6) or any limitation by Rules for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 705(c)(1)(B).” Slip op. at 16. “The effect of the provision in this court-martial was that it limited the production of possible impeachment evidence.” Slip op. at 17. Specifically, the CCA notes that friends and family member of the victim who testified during the sentencing hearing said things “that indicated they had mental health records.” Slip op. at 16. However, “at best, the appellant proffers the mental health records may have revealed the witnesses had more than one reason for seeking counseling unrelated to the horrific and senseless murder of their friend.” Slip op. at 17. The court concludes that this “provision, as applied to this case, did not convert this proceeding into any empty ritual and did not violate public policy.” Slip op. at 17.

The CCA also considers the relationship between the military judge and the trial counsel. “The military judge was Colonel (Col) Vance Spath. An Article 39(a), UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 839(a), session was held on 28 November 2011. When the court-martial reconvened on 30 January 2012, Col Don Christensen had detailed himself as trial counsel.” Slip op. at 5. “Along with being trial counsel in the present case, Col Christensen was also the Chief of the Government Trial and Appellate Counsel Division (AFLOA/JAJG)—a position he continues to hold.” Slip op. at 6. The appellant argued that Col Christensen’s appellate duties creates a conflict of interest because he “defends the decisions of military judges and trial counsel” and particularly because he was defending the actions of Colonel Spath who served as the trial counsel in the capital case of United States v. Witt, No. 36785, __ M.J. __ (A.F.Ct.Crim.App. Jun. 30, 2014) (discussed here). The CCA rejects both this argument and a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel asserting that the trial defense counsel conducted insufficient voir dire of the military judge.

The court also rejects an assertion of error related to the trial counsel’s sentencing argument:

Trial counsel referred to the appellant as “a coward and a pathetic murderous person,” and to him and Ms. Eccleston [the victim's wife] as “two pathetic wastes of space.” Trial defense counsel objected and trial counsel countered that the appellant referred to himself as a coward and pathetic in his admitted confession. The military judge overruled the objection.

Slip op. at 18. The trial counsel also also referred to the victim’s wife as “a witch,” but the CCA notes that “evidence had earlier been introduced that Ms. Eccleston attempted to practice witchcraft and to cast a spell on her husband to hurt him.” Slip op. at 18 n.8. The CCA finds that “the arguments by trial counsel were well within bounds,” and that “the limited references to the appellant and his co-conspirator with disparaging terms were not outside the bounds of fair comment or beyond the norm.” Slip op. at 19.

Here is a link to the new Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) Bill (S.2598/H.R.5096) introduced last week by Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)—with a number of Senate co-sponsors.   The bill has been referred to the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

The new bill looks a lot like the prior CEJA introduction, S.2979 (2010) (prior coverage here and here), but there are very interesting changes in the new bill that are worthy of discussion. I’ve posted a quick and dirty blackline comparing the text of S.2598 to S.2979, here.  More on the changes later.

Lots of interesting military justice articles were published recently:

  • A book review by our emeritus Dwight H. Sullivan, Trying Cases to Win in One Volume, Army Law., June 2014, at 56 (direct link to article). The first paragraph includes this sentence: “What Moneyball did for baseball and Thinking About Crime did for criminology, Trying Cases to Win in One Volume does for trial advocacy.”
  • Major Robert D. Merrill, The Military’s Dilution of Double Jeopardy: Why United States v. Easton should be Overturned, 219 Mil. L. Rev. 176 (2014) (direct link to article). Major Merrill analyzes CAAF’s opinion in United States v. Easton, 71 M.J. 168 (C.A.A.F. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 930 (2013). (CAAFlog case page), and argues that “Congress should amend Article 44 to align with civilian law. Not only was Easton decided on faulty logical grounds, but it also set a dangerous precedent in which the CAAF was permitted to ignore the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a core constitutional right, and on the flimsiest of justifications.” Merrill, supra, at 177.
  • Colonel French L.Maclean, The Seventh Annual George S. Prugh Lecture on Military Legal History, 219 Mil. L. Rev. 262 (2014) (direct link to article). The article is an edited transcript of a lecture delivered on April 24, 2013, and is “about a time, back in World War II, when Judge Advocates were the big dogs on the porch.” Id. at 263.
  • Major Scott A. McDonald, Authenticating Digital Evidence from the Cloud, Army Law., June 2014, at 40 (direct link to article). “This article describes the nature of cloud architecture, criminal aspects of cloud storage, and then addresses issues of authenticating evidence obtained from the cloud. Drawing parallels from the approved methods of authentication for e-mail and webpages, this article argues that despite some unique issues associated with data obtained from the cloud, authentication of cloud data should not present an insurmountable obstacle for counsel.” Id. at 41.
  • Major Jeffrey A. Gilberg, The Secret to Military Justice Success: Maximizing Experience, 220 Mil. L. Rev. 1 (2014) (direct link to article). The author conducted an anonymous survey of Army JAG Corps personnel in military justice billets. From this survey, the article “first identifies and substantiates the problem of inexperience in the Army’s military justice system. Second, it discusses the SVP program as a successful Army initiative already in place that effectively utilizes litigation experience. Third, by building upon the success of the SVP model, as well as the ideas and observations of others, this article proposes a detailed plan that directly addresses and solves the problem of litigation inexperience in the JAG Corps.” Id. at 3.
  • Major Elizabeth Murphy, The Military Justice Divide: Why Only Crimes and Lawyers Belong in the Court-Martial Process, 220 Mil. L. Rev. 129 (2014) (direct link to article). “This article explores the process and concerns with commanders’ UCMJ authority, analyzes recent legislation, and proposes a new military justice model by incorporating the spirit of the MJIA.” Id. at 134. The MJIA is the Military Justice Improvement Act, proposed by Senator Gillibrand and discussed here.
  • Major Frank E. Kostik Jr., If I Have to Fight for My Life—Shouldn’t I Get to Choose My Own Strategy? An Argument to Overturn the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Ban on Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases, 222 Mil. L. Rev. 242 (2014) (direct link to article).

In the justice delayed category we have this report from Marine Corps Times about unresolved alleged miclsconduct by the Marine Corps head of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in Quantico, Va. Apparently this misconduct came to light in March 2013 and resulted in Col. Tracy Tafolla’s removal as commander of the directorate. But no action has been taken since that time. The actions fall into the gray area between sexual harassment and sexual assault. But if Colonel Taffola was Staff Sergeant Taffola, I think the chances are high there would already be preferred charges. Whether that’s the right result or not is a different question and one you can’t answer without more facts.  Update:  A commenter noted that at the end of the article the Marine Corps spokesman stated that NJP proceedings are not released to the public (which is actually not true, the services release that info when it suits their needs): “It’s possible, though, that he will receive nonjudicial punishment as a result of the accusations, or that he has already accepted an NJP. Runyon said that because NJP proceedings are not open to the public, he could not release any information about that process.”  So justice may not be delayed as NJP may have been imposed.  So there you go, maybe justice has not been delayed and this O-6 has received NJP for this conduct.

CAAF decided the Army case of United States v. Jones, No. 14-0071/AR, __ M.J. __ (CAAFlog case page) (link to slip op.), on Monday, July 21, 2014. The court abrogates the subjective prong of the two-part Duga test for whether an Article 31(b) rights warning is required, replacing it with an objective test. The court then applies that test to the facts of the case and determines that the military judge’s ruling admitting Appellant’s confession was not clearly erroneous, affirming Appellant’s conviction and the decision of the Army CCA.

Judge Ryan writes for a unanimous court.

While deployed to Iraq in 2011, Appellant (a military policeman with the rank of Specialist (E-4)) participated in a robbery of an Iraqi businessman of over $380,000 in U.S. currency. Before the robbery, Appellant and his roommate (another military policeman named Carrasquillo whose conviction is also under review by CAAF (grant discussed here)) attempted to recruit then-Private First Class (E-3) Ellis into the conspiracy. Ellis was an augmentee military policeman who wore a military policeman’s uniform but had little formal training. Ellis thought the idea a joke, but when he later heard about the robbery (and was assigned to investigate it), he suspected Appellant and questioned him without first advising him of his right to remain silent under Article 31(b), UCMJ.

The questioning included the following exchange:

SPC Ellis: “Don’t play games with me . . . . Why’d you do it?”
Appellant: “What are you talking about?”
SPC Ellis: “Jones, don’t f’n play games with me.”
Appellant: “All right. We did it.”
SPC Ellis: “Who is we?”
Appellant: [No response]
SPC Ellis: “Where’s your roommate, Carrasquillo?”
Appellant: “I guess, he’s in the room.”

Slip op. at 5. Ellis reported what Appellant told him to his section leader. Appellant was eventually charged with the robbery. At trial he moved to suppress his statements to Ellis due to the fact that Ellis did not warn him about his right to remain silent in accordance with Article 31(b). “The Government responded in opposition to the motion and argued that SPC Ellis was not required to give Article 31(b), UCMJ, warnings because (1) SPC Ellis was not acting in an official capacity, and (2) SPC Ellis did not coerce Appellant.” Slip op. at 6. The military judge agreed with the Government, Ellis testified at trial, and Appellant was convicted contrary to his pleas of not guilty, by a general court-martial composed of members with enlisted representation, of one specification each of conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary, in violation of Articles 81 and 129. Appellant was sentenced to confinement for two years and a bad-conduct discharge.

The Army CCA summarily affirmed Appellant’s convictions but CAAF granted review to determine:

Whether the military judge abused his discretion when he denied the defense’s motion to suppress appellant’s statement to the military police.

Judge Ryan answers that question in the negative, finding that “the military judge did not abuse his discretion in admitting Appellant’s statement, as [Ellis] was not acting in an official law enforcement or disciplinary capacity when he questioned Appellant.” Slip op. at 2-3.

Read more »

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) made numerous changes to the UCMJ (analysis available here). Among those changes was section 1702(b) of the NDAA, revising Article 60(c) to limit a convening authority’s ability to modify either the findings or the sentence of a court-martial. This section was the focus of my analysis published earlier this month by LexisNexis (available at 2014 Emerging Issues 7217).

The revised Article 60(c)(2)(B) states that “except as provided in paragraph (4), the convening authority or another person authorized to act under this section may approve, disapprove, commute, or suspend the sentence of the court-martial in whole or in part.” This allows a convening authority to modify the adjudged sentence, with certain limits. The limits are provided in Article 60(c)(4)(A), which states:

Except as provided in subparagraph (B) or (C), the convening authority or another person authorized to act under this section may not disapprove, commute, or suspend in whole or in part an adjudged sentence of confinement for more than six months or a sentence of dismissal, dishonorable discharge, or bad conduct discharge.

My Emerging Issues Analysis discusses why this language limits a convening authority’s power for only the adjudged punishments of (1) confinement for more than six months and (2) a punitive discharge, leaving a convening authority free to modify any other adjudged punishment in any case. So, for example, when an accused is sentenced to confinement for one year and a $5,000 fine, the statute permits suspension of the fine (because it is not “an adjudged sentence of confinement for more than six months or a sentence of [punitive discharge]” ).

But the Secretary of the Navy recently took the opposite position in ALNAV 051/14, promulgating guidance that I believe is both erroneous and unlawful.

Read more »

This week at SCOTUS: Another jurisdictionless pro se cert petition was docketed last week, in Newton v. United States, No. 14-5284. CAAF denied review in the case on April 15, 2014. I’m not aware of any other military justice developments at the Supreme Court, where I’m now tracking six cases:

This week at CAAF: The next scheduled oral argument at CAAF (and the first argument of the September 2014 term) is on September 9, 2014.

This week at the ACCA: The Army CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the AFCCA: The Air Force CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the CGCCA: The Coast Guard Trial Docket shows no scheduled oral arguments at the Coast Guard CCA.

This week at the NMCCA: The Navy-Marine Corps CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

The Army recently published a complete revision of Part III of the Manual for Courts-Martial (2012), the Military Rules of Evidence, incorporating the changes made by the President in Executive Order 13643 (discussed here). I’ve anticipated this since it was announced by the JSC at this year’s Code Committee meeting (discussed here).

The update is available in PDF here. It also includes a new Appendix 22 (analysis of the M.R.E.).

This public notice set for publication tomorrow in the Federal Register announces that a meeting of the Judicial Proceedings Panel (JPP) (creation discussed here) will be held on Thursday, August 7, 2014, at The George Washington University Law School, Faculty Conference Center, 5th Floor, 716 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20052. The Public Session will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. The agenda is:

  • 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.Administrative Session (41 CFR § 160(b), closed to the public)
  • 10:00 a.m.-10:10 a.m.Comments from the Panel Chair
  • 10:10 a.m.-11:00 a.m.Military Justice Discussion and Legislation Update
  • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.Discussion of the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel Report
  • 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.Rape and Sexual Assault Laws in the United States
  • 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.Evolution of Article 120 of the UCMJ
  • 4:00 p.m.-4:45 p.m.Panel Deliberations
  • 4:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m.Public Comment

The notice also states that the panel’s website is http://jpp.whs.mil/ but it looks like the site isn’t live.

The decision in Klay et al. v. Panetta et al., No. 13-5081, slip op. (D.C. Cir. Jul 18, 2014), released today affirms the DC District Courts dismissal of Bivens claims against the military chain of command by a group of servicemembers that “allege that they were raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed by their fellow Sailors and Marines, only to suffer retaliation from their superiors for reporting their plight.” The COurt affirms on grounds we’ve previously discussed from Chappell v. Wallace, 462 U.S. 296 (1983), here and here.

McClatchy report here.  Our prior coverage here (DDC dismissal) and here (use of Klay case in the Invisible War). Judges Rogers, Griffith, and Srinivasan file dthe opinion, with Judge Griffith filing a concurring opinion.  His concurrence takes a shot at counsel for the petitioners for raising a claim that SecDef Rumsfeld failed to follow an Act of Congress without a factual basis for it.

 

From Stars and Stripes, here:

The Army has issued a formal reprimand for misconduct to its former top sex-crimes prosecutor after investigating a complaint that he kissed and groped a female officer while attending a conference on sexual-assault prevention, according to Army officials.

Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse received the reprimand in late June, officials said, four months after the Army received the complaint and suspended him from his job as supervisor of the Army’s special-victim prosecutors.

Morse has apparently notified the Army that he plans to retire.  Can things get any worse on this front . . . did I actually type that?  H/t JG

A brief personal update: I left active duty on July 1 and moved to Massachusetts with my wife and two children. I remain in the Marine Corps Reserve. I’ve been busy setting up the household and preparing for civilian practice. More news on that to come.

I will continue blogging. In fact, I’m planning to do a lot of writing about military justice issues in the coming months. For example, here is a link to my analysis of the new Article 60(c) (the convening authority’s clemency power for offenses committed on or after June 24, 2014) published as part of the LexisNexis Emerging Issues Analysis series, 2014 Emerging Issues 7217.