In another published opinion authored by Judge Maggs, ACCA tweaked the findings and affirmed the sentence of Specialist Sabrina Harman, who was convicted of maltreating detainees and failing to stop other Soldiers from maltreating detainees, as well as a related conspiracy, while she served as an MP at Abu Ghraib. United States v. Harman, __ M.J. ___, No. ARMY 20050597 (A. Ct. Crim. App. June 30, 2008). (While the opinion is dated 30 June, it appears to have been uploaded onto ACCA’s web site today.)
The prosecution provided the defense and members with a nine-paragraph bill of particulars. The military judge had the members reach a verdict on the bill of particulars, which resulted in findings of guilty to seven of its nine paragraphs. ACCA held that the military judge erred by “requir[ing] the panel to make findings on the bill of particulars,” rather than on the relevant specification. Id., slip op. at 5. This produced an irregular verdict in which the members excepted language from the bill of particulars that wasn’t actually in the specification. ACCA made some minor revisions to the relevant specification to remedy the errors.
ACCA also rejected legal and factual sufficiency challenges to the convictions. Id., slip op. at 6-13.
Finally, ACCA upheld the military judge’s denial of a challenge for cause against a command sergeant major. Id., slip op. at 13-15. In rejecting an implied bias challenge, ACCA concluded, “A member of the public would not believe that a senior non-commissioned officer, like CMS LP, who said she could be objective, would in fact be biased or would serve unfairly merely because she had seen or heard news stories about matters relating to appellant’s case.” Id., slip op. at 14-15.