Courtesy of Main Justice (also covered at Army Times):

Patrick Reinert, Assistant U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Northern District, is nominated to serve as the chief judge on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, which oversees the appeals of criminal court martial convictions by Army personnel. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the appointment Wednesday. In civilian life, Reinert became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1990 and currently heads the office’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

But the Cedar Rapids-based prosecutor also serves as commander of the 150th Judge Advocate General Detachment in Alexandria, Va. — an Army Reserve Unit made up of military judges who handle courts-martial worldwide. He has conducted more than 90 courts-martial in deployments to Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the AP.

25 Responses to “Reservist/AUSA To Serve as ACCA Chief Judge”

  1. soonergrunt says:

    What does this mean for his military career? I thought that the appeals court judges have to be civilians, so will he have to resign his reserve comission to accept the appointment?
    Thanks in advance for answering another clueless newbie question.

  2. Anon says:

    ACCA’s Chief Judge is a Reserve officer? That’s large….

  3. Snuffy says:

    Ok Folks- Relax a bit. This is a reserve position with the Army Court. It was previously held By BG Coral Peach. It is an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) position- not an active duty slot. They participate on a case or two per year and do their two weeks with the court in Arlington.

  4. Ama Goste says:

    Soonergrunt–CAAF judges must be drawn from civilian life; ACCA and all the other service court judges are JAGs.–always happy to help anyone in OKC

  5. Anon says:

    Completely relaxed….is he “The” Chief Judge of ACCA or not?

  6. Jeremiah says:

    There is no requirement that service court appellate judges be in the military. The Coast Guard Chief Judge has always been a civilian position. That being said, I believe the reporters of this news have not given the full story.

  7. Ama Goste says:

    That’s true, Jeremiah. I shouldn’t forget the Dept. of Homeland Security. And, I suspect you’re right about the full story not coming out yet.

  8. John O'Connor says:

    While CCA judges can be civilians, beware of appointments clause issues. See, e.g., Ryder v. United States.

  9. soonergrunt says:

    Thanks!

  10. Dew_Process says:

    And, the case involving Senator/Colonel Lindsey Graham when he sat on the AF CCA.

  11. Ama Goste says:

    How could we forget US v. Lane? Of course, Lane didn’t involve an issue of civilian v. military status.

  12. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Am I the only one who has qualms about someone who is employed as an attorney for a party (the United States) sitting as an appellate judge?

  13. Anonymous says:

    yes

  14. Dwight Sullivan says:

    :-)

  15. Snuffy says:

    Not really. He is an adjunct to the full time chief judge and will have no reposibilities outside of the few cases in which he participates.

  16. Anon says:

    Do you expect he will be any more govt friendly than the typical service court judge?

  17. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Maybe he can just recuse himself from all cases where his civilian client might be involved as I had to do when I was a Reservist at Navy Civil Litigation.

  18. Ama Goste says:

    Col Sullivan, the amici in Lane might care. If ACCA does what AFCCA did with Graham, this guy will get nothing but merits cases. (If I recall correctly, Graham got 3-5 merits cases as the sum total of his court duties.)

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think your overall fear is somewhat reasonable, but having practiced in front of him as a defense attorney, he was pretty fair in the case I’ve seen, particularly if the Soldier fell on his sword, he’d retain more often than the average military judge.

    Still, I agree that the optics aren’t great.

  20. Anon says:

    The statute allows for purely civilian judges to be appointed full time to the bench. NMCCA had them during the Vietnam era, there are some great 1970’s pictures in their chambers. NMCCA also looked at hiring them during the infamous backlog era to help out, though they called in reservist at the end.

    As for his having qualms about him sitting as judge when his employer, the US Govt, is a party, what do you think EVERY military appellate judge is doing. The “appointment” clause bugaboo of defense hacks.

  21. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Anon,

    The qualm isn’t that he’s EMPLOYED by the government — the qualm is that he REPRESENTS the Government and does so in criminal cases. So every case he hears is a case in which his client is a party.

  22. Anon says:

    He is a US atty in the Northern District of Iowa. You are implying that the US Govt is a monolith that always has the same interest, which I dont think is true. Plus he isn’t representing the Army in his civilian capacity. I think the scope of concern is simply too broad without any other evidence. Many Govt employees act against the interest of the Govt in the scope of their official duties – Fed Pub Def, military DC, IG’s the world over. They are representing the interest of the Govt against other Govt interest, happens all the time.

  23. Anon says:

    Forgive me for being dense – still don’t have an answer to the question of whether or not he is “The Chief Judge” of ACCA? I guess nobody thinks having a USAR as Chief Judge is a notable event.

  24. Anon says:

    Ah yes….the Senator from the United States Air Force. Three cheers to accompany the three stars!

  25. Ama Goste says:

    My understanding of the Army is that the ACCA chief judge is also the commander of US Army Legal Services Agency. Given that, I seriously doubt a reservist is the ACCA chief judge.