Here’s a link to a Jurist commentary on Watada by Donald G. Rehkopf, Jr., the co-chair of NACDL’s Military Law Committee.

5 Responses to “Commentary on Watada”

  1. Anonymous says:

    So he gets away with it? Can that be a good thing?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Gets away with it”? No No No — focus on the PROCEDURE. The LAST thing we want to discuss is what he actually did.

  3. Dew_Process says:

    No…. there were 2 conduct unbecoming Specs that were dismissed without prejudice before jeopardy attached. Habe relief was not granted as to those specs.

    But… I think both Anon’s are really missing the subtle point the USDC Judge was making – you have an impulsive MJ [with a temper (I’ve appeared before him)], and for really strange reasons, a very experienced TC and Chief of Justice, who for unfathomable reasons, moved for a mistrial.

    The entire “dispute” was triggered by a PROPOSED defense requested Instruction – both the government and the Defense had no problem with the Stipulation of Fact, so why not just tell the MJ if you’re TC, “deny the requested instruction” and the perceived problem goes away…..

    Watada probably gets a “windfall,” but one handed to him on a gold platter!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The “unfathonable”part is that you judge this case, procedural posture and decisions of all parties through media releases and stories. Unless you were there through the entire case, investigation, court-martial, appeal, habeas and allied litigation, I suggest you not decide what was correct or incorrect. And, Dew…what part, in this case specifically, did the MJs temper play?

  5. Dew_Process says:

    The “unfathonable”part is that you judge this case, procedural posture and decisions of all parties through media releases and stories. Unless you were there through the entire case, investigation, court-martial, appeal, habeas and allied litigation, I suggest you not decide what was correct or incorrect. And, Dew…what part, in this case specifically, did the MJs temper play?
    ___________________________________

    Anon 0710 – You’re right, I should have disclosed my involvement in the case, albeit tangentially.

    I advised Watada’s civilian counsel on the nuances of the Extraordinary Writ application, Writ Appeal and framing the issues. I read the portion of the record RE: the “mistrial.”

    I stand by my comments about his temper [I’ve appeared before him as well] – he thought (even though the Trial Counsel didn’t) that Watada’s defense counsel were trying to “pull something” by offering the proposed instruction. When the Trial Counsel initially also objected to the mistrial suggestion, he “ordered” him to go talk to the SJA about it. The government decided not to “press” the MJ, and thus came back and made the now infamous, mistrial motion. The then Trial Counsel told me that to my face, as did one of his civilian counsel.