The first thing notable about CAAF’s ruling in Templar v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, __ M.J. __, No. 11-8010/NA (C.A.A.F. Nov. 17, 2010), is that former Marine Sergeant Joseph Thomas has changed his name to Solomon Templar.  The second thing is that CAAF denied his habeas petition.

Thomas had been sentenced to death for killing his wife, but CAAF reversed his death sentence because the military judge provided the members with erroneous instructions concerning the sentence voting procedures.  United States v. Thomas, 46 M.J. 311 (C.A.A.F. 1997).  Thomas subsequently pleaded guilty under a PTA that required him to waive applying for clemency or parole.  NMCCA upheld that PTA term, while setting aside a PTA term that said Thomas wouldn’t accept clemency if granted by SECNAV.  United States v. Thomas, 60 M.J. 521 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2004).  Thomas didn’t appeal that ruling to CAAF.  But in a later case, CAAF disagreed with NMCCA’s Thomas opinion and held that a PTA provision waiving the right to request clemency or parole violates R.C.M. 705(c)(1)(B).  United States v. Tate, 64 M.J. 269 (C.A.A.F. 2007).  I don’t know whether “Templar’s” petition for extraordinary relief was an attempt to apply Tate to his case, since CAAF”s denial of the petition doesn’t explain either the nature of the habeas petition or CAAF’s rationale for rejecting it.  Do any of our readers know?

3 Responses to “CAAF denies habeas petition filed by former military death row inmate”

  1. John O'Connor says:

    Tate was wrongly decided.

  2. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Regardless of whether Tate was right or wrong under the existing regulatory framework, R.C.M. 705(c)(1)(B) should be amended to allow an accused to waive appellate review as part of a PTA, as advocated by JO’C here: http://www.uakron.edu/law/lawreview/v41/docs/Connor_final08.pdf

  3. John Baker says:

    The Marine Corps has been trying since 2006 to get the statutory and regulatory changes needed to allow an accused to waive his appeal in a PTA. For whatever reason, the Army will not support these changes and this proposal remains mired in the JSC.