We’ve often discussed the court-martial of LtCol Jeffrey R. Chessani, USMC, and the government’s appeal that followed Judge Folsom’s ruling dismissing the charges against him without prejudice. See, e.g., here, here, and here.
The Government’s Article 62 appeal in the case was orally argued on 17 October 2008. Congress has provided that “whenever practicable,” Courts of Criminal Appeals shall give Article 62 appeals “priority over all other proceedings before that court.” Art. 62(b), UCMJ. Yet NMCCA hasn’t issued a ruling in the Chessani case.
I understand that last week, four months after the case was argued and eight months after Judge Folsom ordered charges dismissed without prejudice, appellate government counsel filed a motion for an expedited ruling in the case. And I understand that NMCCA denied that motion the day after it was filed.
Given that the dismissal of charges was without prejudice, I’m still perplexed by why the government appealed the ruling. LtCol Chessani’s court-martial would be over by now if the case had simply been turned over to a different CA. The argument is often made that the military justice system can’t provide all the protections of a civilian system because there is a special need for speedy disposition of charges in the military. But here’s the government itself making a decision that needlessly prolonged the court-martial process.