#6 and #7 in the Top Military Justice Stories of 2011 — DoN Leadership Challenges, XO Movie Night, and Challenges to DoN JAGC Leadership
A minute for a word on PFC Bradley Manning’s confinement and Art. 32 hearing–because I now have the keyboard. Contrary to my colleague I think Manning actually deserved higher billing in the Top 10. Manning’s case aroused significant US and international media coverage and attention for the military justice process, something 77.8% of the other stories in our Top 10 can’t claim–even a few in the Top 3. Heck, the German Parliament and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture got involved (here and here).
Now on to #7. The odd array of facts that surrounded the various DoN leadership failures this past year, and their associated military justice and administrative proceedings, never ceased to amaze us. Most notably was the strange tale of CAPT Owen Honors and his XO Movie Night skits, see a few reports here, here, and here. We knew the XO Movie Night spectacle would be on its way to “Top” status when the first post about the story drew more than 90 comments. And while his story wasn’t pure military justice, the punitive letters of censure, NPLOCs, and other administrative measures that flowed from the story made it close enough for blog-work. Other infamous 2011 DoN leadership failures made their way directly into the heartland of military justice and landed more than one Skipper or XO at a court-martial. See various reports here, here, here, and here. Various news agencies estimated that, in total, the DoN relieved more than 17 commanding officers and countless other XOs or similar leaders.
#6 is more inside baseball and is really more of a CAAFlog Top story of 2011 as few other news organizations reported on it with as much vigor. The strange tale of Earle Partington and his suspension from the practice of law before the DoN began late last year, here, when Mr. Partington sued the Dept. of the Navy of the JAG himself. Partington contends in his still ongoing lawsuit that the JAG disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his suspension were without statutory authority. After disciplinary proceedings that arose from a footnote in a N-M. Ct. Crim. App. case (United States v. Toles, No. NMCCA 200602374 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Oct. 20, 2007)) resulted in Partington’s suspension from N-M courts-martial practice and suspension from the CAAF bar, Partington filed suit claiming the JAG did not authority to discipline a civilian counsel practicing in DoN courts. The topic was both on point for our readers and full of ups and downs for the parties, at one point Partington won a TRO which then lapsed, and made it a perfect Top 10 pick. See our prior analysis and reader comments.
Next on tap, an inside baseball story gets serious continuing coverage and the other big international headline military justice story. And then the Top 2.