In 10 of the 43 cases in which CAAF heard oral argument this term, the accused was represented  by a retained civilian counsel.  Surely far less than 23% of all supps are filed by retained civilian counsel.  So that suggests that supps filed by retained civilian counsel are granted at a higher rate than supps filed by military counsel.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that the grant rate is higher BECAUSE they are filed by retained civilian counsel; it’s probably true that accused in cases with an objectively “grantable” issue are more likely to hire a civilian counsel than are accused in cases without such an issue.

Also interesting is that once the case is granted, retained civilian counsel prevailed 30% of the time — almost indistinguishable from the overall rate at which the defense prevailed in argued cases at CAAF this year.

5 Responses to “End o’ term stats: retained civilian counsel”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t that second number suggest that you do as well with military counsel as civilian counsel so that its well to put it bluntly, a waste of money to hire civilian counsel?

    Not because civilian counsel are bad, but because military counsel are equally good, or at least, good enough?

  2. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Anon 1625, not necessarily. To get to that 30% reversal rate, first you have to get CAAF to grant review. And as we noted, the grant rate for cases with retained civilian counsel appears to be far higher than the grant rate for cases with military counsel. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the grant rate is higher BECAUSE OF civilian counsel. But nor does is it necessarily the case that it isn’t.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Is there more than anecdotal evidence of this statement “Surely far less than 23% of all supps are filed by retained civilian counsel.”? Not that I don’t believe that the anecdotal evidence is likely true, but it seems to me that without knowing the percentages for failed petitions for review, we’d need to know the truth of that statement.

  4. Weirick says:

    Is this civilian counsel on appeal, at trial, or both?

  5. Dwight Sullivan says:

    These were cases in which a retained civilian counsel argued for the accused at CAAF.