I’m thrilled to announce that Stu Couch has accepted our offer to become a CAAFlog contributor.  Stu is a military justice expert whose 22-year Marine Corps career concluded with service as a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals judge.  His extremely ethical work as a prosecutor in the military commission system was recognized by the American Bar Association, which honored him with its 2007 Minister of Justice Award.  His work as an NMCCA judge earned him the almost-as-prestigious designation of “The Great” status bestowed by the No Man.

In addition to his service as a judge advocate, Stu was also a Marine Corps pilot.  He’s now in civilian practice in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I look forward to reading his posts.

15 Responses to “Stu Couch joins CAAFlog commentator herd”

  1. Donny Elliott says:


    Why not attach your name to that drive-by attack on Mr. Couch? I’ve never met the man, but, then again, I’d bet my 16 gauge Parker you never have, either. If you really have a beef with something he’s done, by all means, tell us why you’re right, and he’s wrong. Oh, and make sure you call him a JAGoff again when you do it…that would really amp up the quality of your argument.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stu Couch is a man of integrity and deserves to be treated with respect, period. Read a little about him someday. If you disagree with his legal analysis or legal conclusions, so be it, but calling he and the other judges listed “JAGoffs” is very small of you.

  3. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Please note: I deleted a comment that the other two comments on this thread respond to. It was an inappropriate anonymous ad hominem attack. And I seriously wonder whether it was written by someone who was the subject of an appellate opinion written or joined by Stu Couch.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No doubt someone will come along to tell us how “soft” we are for this kind of thing but I for one prefer a modicum of respect and common decency.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Stuart Couch is a colonel with a conscience. There is no doubt about that when it comes to personally observing the things he did while a prosecutor. Just like his decision to quit that Slahi prosecution drew criticism from the likes of Haynes and Bushco, his decisions from the bench should also be subjected to appropriate criticism.
    I wonder if anyone else saw that short “inappropriate” comment before it was deleted. Sure, there was a direct attack (using the term JAGoff was it I guess – though aren’t those judges on the navy court JAG officers? Perhaps it depends how you use it, or the sensitivity of the hardcore marine reading it). But there was also legitimate criticism of Couch and the other two judges of NMCCA that were mentioned. I recall it having something to do with those judges’ sense of due process, apparently based on their opinions. There was something about JAGs and capital litigation as well, which is something that’s been discussed here when discussing the Hasan case. Just as an observation can be made of the type of jurist Susan Crawford was, or the Scalia/Thomas tandem at the Supreme Court, or when one refers to a particular court as the Warren or Burger Court, such an observation can be made of a particular period of the judges (won’t say JAGoffs here) on the navy court. But we’ll have to rely on the deleter and the others who may have seen the comment to determine whether if was worthy of deletion. I wonder if Donny Elliott and the other anon commenter hadn’t commented, would we even know there was such a comment at all? Will this comment also disappear? Maybe caaflog can start calling these comments “the disappeared” to go along with the ones hidden by the thumbs. I don’t think Stuart Couch would agree with a disappeared policy, though. Would you, Colonel Couch?

    Seriously, Donny Elliott? So, you’re Steve McQueen now with that shotgun? Just know, Donnyboy, as a wise philosopher once said, “you live by the gun, you die by the gun.”

    Ad hominem attack, Mr. Sullivan? I’ve seen a fair share of that here, particularly whenever Cossio comments. Your deletion of the comment and your description of it remind me of faux news’s “we distort, you decide.” Yet, Donnyboy can make veiled threats and his comment remains – must be a good ‘ol boy thing.

  6. John Baker says:

    I’m a big CAAFlog fan and bigger Stu Couch fan, so am looking forward to Tater’s comments. Welcome Stu.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1543, the difference with Cossio is it addresses actual comments made on here. It’s substantive. The drive-by on the new contributor here was not substantive. It wasn’t directly on a specific decision. It was basically, you suck as a judge.

    I happen to think Judge Crawford was not my favorite judge, but I certainly would respect her enough to not call her a Jag-off and I would limit my criticism to specific decisions, not a general drive-by.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For those who don’t know Mr. Couch:



  9. Navyman says:

    As long as some judges at NMCCA continue to make the government’s arguments during the apellate process these attacks will continue. While I respect a healthy disagreement on principles of legal analysis there has been several instances when MR Couch and his colleagues has defied logics in their opinions. After being the subject of one such opinions I cannot say I care for the man. However, I am not inclined to throw disrespect for commisioned Officers. Eeven enlisted Peons can appreciate the office. I continue to believe CAAF will make things right. As for Judge Couch I accept that reasonable men can disagree, for his service he atleast deserves the respect of the diaspora.

    The navy does many things right, but the most important is conveying a sense of respect and defference from within its enlisted ranks, though I disagree vehemently with you judge Couch, I simply salute you and welcome aboard CAFFLOG sir!

  10. Jason Grover says:

    Welcome aboard Colonel!

  11. Donny Elliott says:

    Anon 3:43,

    How did I make a “veiled threat”? Explain it to me as if I were five.

  12. Ed White says:

    Thrilled to see Stu Couch added to your list of regular contributors, and I look forward to reading his insights and observations! I served with Stu for two years on NMCCA, where he was my confidant, sounding board and sanity check. He was a great judge, and I’m sure he’ll be a great CAFFlog commentator.

  13. Comrade Cossio says:

    Sorry, just clicked here, although I applaud a new contributor with the wealth of experience as Mr. Couch apparently has, this kind of news is not interesting to me (but of course what is interesting to me may be interesting to you), since it has been a slow news week this Thanksgiving weekend, I just decided to click and read posts that I would otherwise ignore.

    Lo and Behold ! This post has turned into a lively debate were I was named dropped twice.

    So I will put my two cents in:


    The word “JagOff” is equal to “Jerk Off”. For people hailing from the Chicago and Pittsburgh areas the word “Jag” is used in the same as “Jerk” (See the Movies Good Fellas and Casino). Hispanic immigrants in Chicago use the word with much comic effect pronouncing “JAGoff” like [ʒak – of].

    The relationship between a JAG Officer and JagOff cannot be understated. I used it myself as a double entendre, referring to the Deputy SJA as a JagOFF—icer (purposely dragging the -icer syllable). I know, its childish but fun.

    However, I would not use this word on this blog as an insult, I prefer more creative insults coupled with attacks on the person’s statement. For example, there is a difference in calling someone retarded v. saying “If you think this way, then you are retarded”

    I can’t pretend to know who Anon is, or what beef he has with Stu Couch.

    He could be a little troll for all I know. But in my humble opinion if you are going to call people names, at leat be a man about it and quit hiding behind the “Anon” tag.

    I have been critical of the Appellate Judges in my case, referring to them as “hacks”, “rubber stampers”. etc. However I would not single anyone out, because I know little about the judges in the first place.

    Second, most of them are hacks, its just the nature of the business. Everyone here knows the CCAs overturn only blatant errors (if that) and anything remotely 50/50 is resolved in the Government’s favor.

    However, if Anon was an Appellate like me, he should understand that the moment he committed his crimes, whether or not he deserved the kind of punishment, whether or not witnesses lied, whether or not the Judge let the Government do whatever they wanted and turned a blind eye in his appeals, the moment you commit an offense you submit yourself to the powers that be.

    And if you don’t like the system as it is, tough Bananas. Could’ve been worse, you could have been in County eating Baloney Sandwiches and cornbread sleeping next to Bubba.

    To sum it up, if you are going to attack a person based on their profession you should be prepared to present facts as to why you think they are a “JAGoff”. If you have a beef with someone be a man and use your name.

    If you are just trolling about, go find a rock to hide under or guard a bridge, do things that trolls are good at.

    Maybe I’m being too hard on the lad. I can’t really expect a troll to reason. Its not his fault if you think about it.

  14. Donny Elliott says:

    I just gave Cossio a “thumbs up,” and I,,,,,gulp,,,,,have not doubt it was the right thing to do.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Eh, I didn’t because although he may be right in this case for the most part, the hypocrisy is too stunning for me to reward him for it.