So after seeing numbers 10 to 2, are you thoroughly annoyed your favorite didn’t make the list? Are you amazed that two relatively bright people could make a list this bad? Are you tired of living in the past and want to move on with 2010 news?

As to the first two questions, our list, our top 10. Buy your own bandwidth! As to the third, we are always looking for the next great Mil Jus story, is always open.

Personally, I had a hard time leaving off the 2 (or 3) challenges in early 2009 to the constitutionality of Art. 2(a)(10) UCMJ–applying the UCMJ to civilians in contingency operations (here, here, and here).  But, aside from that being a bit self serving, the cases amounted to little more than brief skirmishes as DOD relented in all of the cases, wisely choosing not to prosecute one of the contractors at all.  JMTG cast his vote for AFCCA’s startling action in United States v. Nerad,  67 M.J. 748 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 2009), setting aside a factually and legally correct conviction because it found the case to be unjust.  Other stories not making the cut included the Rodriguez dust up (and here) and the Navy JAG’s action in the LT House case.  Maybe JMTG can post his honorable mentions list?

So what makes a Top 10 story? Sex, drugs, . . . ok that’s every other court martial I prosecuted, so not that. What’s important for me was mass appeal and cross over interest. Probably the best way to “Top 10” appeal would be how many blogs linked to a CAAFlog story. For example, if I had to vote for a top 10 military justice story of the decade (which we won’t do) I would probably vote at least once for CAAFlog’s discovery of the Kennedy v. Louisiana mistake.  See the post that started it all here.  Above the fold, front page NYT coverage, divergent viewpoints, and lots of reaction from across the legal world.

As for our current crop, the recurring theme that has made headlines was the war in Iraq.  Of the nine entrants, one third have been about military justice stories originating from Iraq (none from Afghanistan).  While one would expect a war to dominate a legal blog dedicated to the military, I was actually surprised that so many stories centered on issues other than just crimes in theater, e.g. the SEAL story was less about the crimes and more about politics or the Behenna case focusing on detainees and American attitudes toward them.

One Response to “Top 10 Military Justice Stories of 2009 – A Review of the Pack”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Behenna case has nothing to do with “detainees” or what “American’s attitude” toward the situation, although there are thousands that think he is a great American Hero! The Politically minded Leadership and their information withholding Army prosecutors are the only ones who want to believe he is guilty of anything.

    Very simply it has to do with a known AQ otherwise defined as “The Enemy” in this declared war! This particular enemy was known to be involved with the killings of other American Soldier Heroes. He was caught and inconceivably released to kill again. This madness leads anyone with a reasonable brain to the real issue…. The politically motivated ROE written and supported by the same individuals and leadership that prosecutes and sentences our heroes.

    America and American’s know that none of this hogwash passes the smell test! A quick reference to Lt. Colonel Allen West on his story and on YouTube should leave no doubt that politically correct descriptions for public consumption fall very short of the real situation. Lawyers and politically minded Leadership need to get their manipulating hands out of this WAR! Otherwise bring the boys home and stop this contrived madness!

    Also, if you can get your hands on the CNN series “Murder or Battlefield Justice” featured on Anderson 360, you’ll see a General in charge of the so called “detainees” admitting we are “sacrificing” to win this war. All this in context of the ROE and prosecutions of our Military men. In addition to releasing 77K of the 87K captured. What sacrifices could he have been referring to other than our heroes?

    Where is Patton when you need him!