The Army Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled a May 24 oral argument for a case that had flown under the radar (and, quite frankly, I thought it was dead) after its high-profile beginning. US v. Ali involves the only (as far as I know, but see above) conviction of a civilian under the recently expanded jurisdiction of Article 2, UCMJ.
An Iraqi-Canadian civilian contractor working with the US military in Iraq found himself the accused at a general court-martial in 2008. Ali was charged with assaulting another contractor, but the assault charge was dismissed as part of a plea to lesser offenses. As his sentence fell below the required jurisdictional requirement, he was not eligible for an automatic appeal. Fortunately for military justice groupies like me and the constitutionally curious, the Army TJAG decided to certify the case to ACCA. We did not anticipate this; it’s a rare occasion that the TJAG wants an appellate court to decide a case challenging the government’s jurisdiction. Here are the briefs from the government and defense.
This will be a historic argument to put on your calendar.