Here’s the TJAGLCS’s Crim Law Department’s announcement of the demise of the New Developments Course.  Alas, it isn’t just this year’s New Developments Course that’s gone; the course is now extinct.  Sniff, sniff.

19 Responses to “31(b)log on the New Development Course’s demise”

  1. stewie says:

    My understanding was that this actually wasn’t a budget related move.

  2. Soonergrunt says:

    Off Topic–sorry about that, but I need legal advice.
    I got an email today from a “Sergeant in the US Navy” serving in Afghanistan.  He has come into possession of “$10.5 millions of dollar (US)” and he needs a safe stateside account to park the money in until he gets his honorable discharge in a few months because “the international laws say I can keep it after I get out”.
    I want to help our brave brother in arms, who emailed me from which appears to route through
    I just want to be sure that “the international laws” will protect me from having to pay income tax on the 20% that he’s offering me.  Seems legit, right?

  3. Christopher Mathews says:

    Something seems phishy about that, sg.

  4. N says:

    I don’t know, this guy sounds legit.

  5. Peanut Gallery says:

    I actually enjoyed and benefitted from the ND course I attended.  Of course, being in C-ville in October with old friends doesn’t hurt. 

  6. Bruce MacKenzie says:

    IMHO – putting this course in the dustbin of military justice history and lore was a good move.   I would expect military justice practicioners to be up on “New Developments” as part of their ethical mandate to be competent in a court-martial/MJ setting.  While I was always impressed with the degree and quality of labor that went into the course by the Crim Law folks at  the Army School, I don’t think I was ever surprised by any content in their course.  Now if they re-worked the course to expand beyond pure military justice and encapsulate “New Developments” across a broader spectrum of state and federal cases, law and legislative actions…wouldn’t that be a more useful to both defense and prosecution bars? 

  7. Maj Liebenguth says:

    Captain MacKenzie hits the nail on the head.  Although th New Developments Course was put together well, by the time you got to the course the “new” developments had often become old already.  CAAFLOG is the New Developments Course now, and it has the benefit of providing those developments in real time and in easily-digested segments that are available to all.  Every miilitary justice practitioner should be reading CAAFLOG daily to comply with the mandate Captain MacKenzie references.     

  8. Who's your daddy says:

    Come on BK – you were a sitting judge.  Of course you were up to date. 
    The target was the SJA community – particularly 06s – that filled their 6 hour days (excluding PT) reviewing lit packages and eithics briefs prepared by action officers and sitting next to the chaplain at staff meetings.
    Good work if you can get it and the surest way to promotion for 05s (the smart ones).
    Admittedly, none of this compares to the 06 Navy Judge billet in Naples.  Now that is a boondagle worthy of an IG investigation.

  9. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Maj Liebenguth, as I previously commented to Col Baker, if your military CLE plan depends on CAAFlog,you have a bad plan.  There are many problems with relying on CAAFlog as a alternative to some other training program.  One of those is sustainability.  We’ve been at this about 5 1/2 years now.  I wouldn’t have thought that we would have sustained it this long and I have no idea how long we’ll continue.  Right now, one of our founding commentators — the Kabul Klipper — has taken a monastic vow of blogging silence as he prepares to take the bench.  I was on a complete blogging hiatus for several months last year and have cut down my number of posts this year compared to previous years.  If Zack hadn’t stepped in to fill the void, we probably wouldn’t exist today and I wouldn’t want to bet on the prospect that we’ll be around a year from now.

    We saw the “Military Justice Blog” come and go over half a year in 2007, adding still more doubt about the sustainability of the hobby military justice blog genre. 

    The good news is that the Army JAG School’s Crim Law Department has indicated that its 31(b)log “will provide case briefs throughout the year.”  That would provide a more sustainable military justice blogging model.  (It would also probably make CAAFlog redundant.)

  10. Zachary Spilman says:

    Reading the announcement on 31(b)log, I’m struck by three things. First, either the school is under a fiscal squeeze that it doesn’t want to admit, or its mission has expanded so dramatically that it can’t continue to offer a product with a lineage of over 30 years. Assuming the latter, this is a good thing. The announcement says that “this course was our least critical course.” That sets a high bar for the new offerings.

    Second is the gradual but consistent proliferation of technology in the practice of military justice. The school digitized video of the last two courses, and will continue to produce and distribute (electronically) the course materials. There’s the blog (that one, this one, and others), the deskbook, and more. Not all military justice uses of technology are productive – some are outright despised and only survive because of a “requirement” – but for the most part information systems make us leaner, stronger, and smarter. This is also a good thing.

    Finally, the school’s decision is exactly what we’d expect from a private institution in similar circumstances: make the tough decision, announce it, and drive on. There were (apparently) no surveys, blue-ribbon committees, or inter-agency conferences to lean-six-sigma best practices leveraging corporate knowledge and service commonalities in the global workspace to find a diverse and culturally-sensitive strategic vision for a better tomorrow. Bravo.

  11. Maj Liebenguth says:

    Dwight Sullivan:

    Sir, I didn’t know that CAAFLOG’s future looked so bleak.  Nonetheless, until, and if, it goes the way of the hula hoop, it is not an alternative CLE plan–it is the primary one for me.  But if it does go south, I will be over at the 31(b)log and the sites for CAAF and the CCAs. 

    Hopefully, now that it has been made known that CAAFLOG is in jeopardy, those who will continue to be at the forefront of military justice will step forward and keep it alive.     

  12. Eckert says:

    CAPT MacKenzie, sir, as someone who has given appellate update briefs in multiple times in the past, I would respectfully disagree that the vast majority of TC/DCs and SJAs are up on current military case developments.  Of course, some counsel have an incredible knowledge base and know far more than I ever hope to.  And while the most counsel probably have a broad base of knowledge passed down from NJS, MOJOs, Department Heads and the like, and their experience practicing in front of their Military Judge, I don’t agree that most counsel have the knowledge they should, which you can only really get from reading the opinions for yourself.  I would concede that I certainly did not know the case law like I should have been when I was a TC in Okinawa straight out of NJS.  And hopefully with declining CM numbers, people will take it upon themselves to read CAAF opinions on a regular basis but if this CLE course forced people to educate themselves on new criminal law developments, IMHO, that’s a very good thing.    

    Maj Liebenguth, sir, perhaps CAAFlog, the Internet in general, and each service’s respective TCAP/DCAP make the new developments course (at least a live version) obsolete but, I wonder whether there isn’t some need for a meeting of the foremost military justice practitioners every year.  It seems this is yet another move that suggests military justice concerns are not in the forefront of the decision makers mind.  While op law is essential, one of our core functions is to prosecute and defend Marines accused of crimes, thus, I was shocked and frankly, disappointed that this course was eliminated. 

  13. JP Galligan says:

    TJAGSA is going to the dogs…..

  14. Zachary Spilman says:

    I wouldn’t want to bet on the prospect that we’ll be around a year from now.

    I’ll take that bet, with double or nothing for two years.

  15. Charles Gittins says:

    I agree with Eckert.  New developments is an important course . . .   it would help practitioners and Military Judges to keep up with concepts such as the Double Jeopardy Clause and duplicity.

  16. Peanut Gallery says:

    Eckert says:
    “I wonder whether there isn’t some need for a meeting of the foremost military justice practitioners every year.”

    Not another golf tournament!

    I agree with Eckert.  The majority of SJAs, senior TCs, MOJOs, and senior DCs are too busy treading water with cases and other legal/administrative matters.  It’s not that they aren’t intelligent and competent, but the nature of their billets often make it impractical to read every CAAFlog post or comment thread. 

    Maybe the ND course is a bit of an archaic model, but surely there is something that can be done.  In the Navy, Code 20 pushes information via monthly criminal law updates.  They provide a concise synopsis of important developments over the past 30 days.  Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s beter than nothing at all.

  17. Tami says:

    ND was nice, but I didn’t see the point for GAD, DAD, or ACCA personnel to attend–considering those folks briefed and argued and decided the issues on the cases being briefed, the GAD, DAD, and ACCA people knew those cases better than the instructors.

  18. Bruce MacKenzie says:

    Eckert – if there was an implication that I stated that a vast majority of TC/DCs/SJA were current on military case developments, it was wholly unintended.  I believe my statement was that “I would expect military justice practicioners to be up on “New Developments” as part of their ethical mandate to be competent in a court-martial/MJ setting”.  I am perhaps a dinosaur (on many differing levels I suppose) but with regard to professionalism and competency, such I believe is a personal mandate for each practicing attorney contained in our professional rules.  The Caves, Pucketts, Gittens and Kelly’s (to name a few from the ranks of civilian counsel…there are a great many in the military ranks as well) of the legal world maintain their MJ competency on their own initiative and resources in spite of grinding schedules and time/resources required expended in maintain a successful legal practice.  I am sure we could have a lengthy discussion regarding professional responsibility.  The bottom line to which I intended on providing is that, IMHO, competency is a personal professional mandate.

    Footnote – I did not intend in any manner to impune the Army JAG School or its perenial outstanding staff (and one of my alma maters).

  19. BDG says:

    I think the Criminal Law Advocacy Course (CLAC) and the trainings that are posted on JAGCNet are the new “New Developments” – however the CLE issues were probably not a concern.  Many posts offer a OPD or the like – or make CLE available to their counsel at regional Reserve On-Sites and the like.  Many states do exempt their active servicemembers from meeting the CLE minimums.