Here.  Chief Judge Effron wrote for a unanimous court, affirming NMCCA’s opinion in part and reversing in part.  CAAF held that the erroneous severance of counsel could be tested for prejudice and, finding none, held the error to be harmless.

22 Responses to “CAAF has issued its opinion in Hutchins”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think the fact that CAAF went ahead and did the prejudice analysis and found no prejudice, without wasting time sending the case back and telling NMCCA to do so, is an indictment of NMCCA.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wait… Why did CAAF find the severance erroneous again?
    And did the government really lose I and II?
    Did CAAF affirm NMCCA on I and II?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, just wow. How can we have any confidence in this decision when CAAF clearly doesn’t understand the defense counsel structure in the Marine Corps? The RDC doesn’t have any authority to relieve or excuse counsel–the government controls DC detailing exclusively.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Really????? You need to read the LEGADMINMAN.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I have. Take a look at Sections 2001.6, 2002.3, 2002.4 & 2002.5 of the LEGADMINMAN. The RDC has no authority to excuse or change counsel. Command authority (including manpower & assignments issues) and detailing authority is clearly vested in the SJA or OIC of the LSSS–hardly the “defense structure.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Confidence in CAAF? Really? CAAF isn’t the court that got overturned here.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1304: And every Marine command I have ever been delegates detailing authority to the SDC. I have NEVER heard of an SJA/OIC of an LSSS detailing a DC.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hmm. Usually by now we get treated to a trenchant analysis of such a big case……but it’s strangely…….silent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ignoring defense bar losses is the best way for the defense bar to deal with them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, this can of worms was not opened by the defense in this case, it was opened by a too-paternalistic NMCCA, who now has to say, “We were wrong, so now we have performed the rest of our Art. 66 review in this case…..” Mark my words, Maksym et al will find a way to keep Hutchins bounced, one way or another.

  11. Semper Par says:

    This is still a good case to illustrate how not to go about changing defense counsel, but CAAF got it right — there was no prejudice because the accused received the effective assistance of (several very experienced) counsel.

  12. Friend says:

    As an aside – what becomes of the machinations of the NMCCA majority where they thump their collective chests demanding that the hapless former O-3 defense counsel deserting his client at the moment of truth be “horsewhipped” by his state bar for ethics violations? I guess the majority should have listened to J. Price on this one!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Maksym and his “brethren” have egg on their faces, but they will never acknowledge it. CAAF did not even give that issue any mention. Their silence speaks volumes, as does the silence on CAAFlog.

  14. anon says:

    Not really, CAAF affirmed 2 of the 3 issues and said no prejudice. So, NMCCA actually got it right in the severance of counsel was not done properly. When you think about it, NMCCA didn’t “horsewhip” DC because there was prejudice but because he left active duty and basically said FU to his client. NMCCA presumed prejudice, CAAF said that is incorrect and when they tested they found none. Beyond that, CAAF and NMCCA were in agreement.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Great point, anon 10:43 am. I’d be interested in seeing language from CAAF’s opinion where they “affirmed 2 of the three issues,” anon 10:43 am. Can you point to that language in the opinion, pretty please?

  16. anon says:

    Sure, pretty easy, look at the last page of the opinion. Or,

    We answer the first and second certified issues by holding
    that the record of trial does not establish a valid basis for termination of the attorney-client relationship between Appellee and Captain Bass under the circumstances of this case. We answer the third certified issue by holding that the errors in this case may be tested for prejudice, and that the errors did not materially prejudice the substantial rights of Appellee.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Close enough for sea lawyers.

  18. anon says:

    then explain from NMCCA’s opinion that said the MJ got it wrong but presumed prejudice and 46 certified the issues and CAAF said the MJ got it wrong but did not presume prejudice. Please, inform us all how that is not the case,

  19. anon says:

    Anon 12:41 ball in your court and I won’t ask please…

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a perfect example of over-paternalism by a CCA; yes, you have massive plenary review (which frankly ought to be curtailed – it”s not 1952 anymore) but NMCCA really strayed way out of their box on Hutchins. It’s nice to see them get their little pee pees slapped.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Anon 10:11: “Ball in your court” implies there’s a back and forth. I asked a question.

    You cited the language that you think supports your assertion. If you think I was making a point, that also answers my question, in a revealing way. Do stay away from the practice of law until you learn to be a careful reader. ;)

  22. anon says:

    You asked for language. It was pointed out. You are right, once it was pointed out for you that should have ended the discussion.