Here (subscription required) is a link to a National Law Journal article about the Navy’s revamp of its lawyer corps.   Here is an excerpt on the separate defense command progress:

Navy defense and prosecution lawyers have been operating “without a lot of support and assistance” available to them, Houck said. That was not a problem in the 1980s, when court-martial was a big practice and the lawyers’ main line of work. “By organizing the way we are now — by setting up a defense counsel assistance program and trial counsel assistance program, and also putting Region and Naval Legal Service Offices in slightly different chains of command in which they each report to another senior Navy captain with experience in their business — we will give more assistance and oversight,” he said. Houck acknowledged that the Marine Corps is “a little further along” in that it has a separate defense command, which only does criminal defense and is entirely independent of the prosecution function. The Army also created a separate command solely for defense counsel in 1980. Houck said, “We’ll be there in about two years.”

The unflappable JO’C is quoted in the story saying, “I do think for trial counsel and defense counsel in the field, the training and mentorship are very much hit or miss. Having a defense counsel assistance program is a very positive development.”  I think we can all agree on that.

5 Responses to “VADM Houck says Navy is 2 Years Away from Creating an Independent Defense Command”

  1. Former DC says:

    The question is, will the Navy do it right this time? Or will a great idea get bogged down by policy and centralized control?

  2. Anonymous says:

    The system works well when innocent people are acquitted and guilty people are convicted and punished. Is there any evidence that guilty people are getting acquitted or innocent people are getting convicted and punished? If not, then why tinker with the process at all? If so, then the JAG should figure out why and fix the problem.

  3. Anon says:

    In an odd twist, if you combine the first two comments above you have the answer – the “problem” is mishandled cases caused by lack of centralized control. Always the answer to those that spent the majority of their career (or the last ten years) at headquarters.

  4. Anon says:

    Qeustion for anyone still reading this blog entry – what is happening with the 506 Panel? Do we have a “JAG of the Marine Corps” yet?

  5. Jeffrey McSweeney says:

    Innocent individuals are being convicted because the military justice system is slanted towards the government to win no matter what.

    I know because I am one of those innocent individuals that was convicted no matter what.
    While the individuals that commited the rape got off scott free due to poor investigation work by the Navy and NCIS! Other individuals names were brought to light but never investigated. Had I received a proper defense counsel by the US Navy those individuals would have never been promoted and advanced in the US Navy and my name would have been fully cleared of all allegations that I was wrongly convicted.

    The system works well when innocent people are acquitted and guilty people are convicted and punished. Is there any evidence that guilty people are getting acquitted or innocent people are getting convicted and punished? If not, then why tinker with the process at all? If so, then the JAG should figure out why and fix the problem.