The Center for Constitutional Rights offers this synopsis of its case Center for Constitutional Rights v. Lind, No. 12-8027/AR, which is currently pending before CAAF:

CCR v. United States is a petition for extraordinary relief filed with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and a subsequent writ-appeal filed with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, seeking access to documents in the court-martial proceeding for Private First Class Bradley Manning.

. . . .

[The writ appeal asks CAAF to] grant the public and press access to the government’s motion papers, the court’s own orders, and transcripts of proceedings [in the PFC Manning case], none of which have been made public to date.  In addition, the [writ appeal] challenges the fact that substantive legal matters in the court martial – including a pretrial publicity order – have been argued and decided in secret.

The writ appeal is available here and the Government’s response is available here.

Yesterday, CAAF issued an interesting order in the case.  CAAF ordered the Government to file with CAAF no later than 10 August “the ruling and analysis of the military judge,” either in the form of an appellate exhibit or Article 39(a) session transcript, regarding CCR’s request for “the docket sheet, all motions and responses thereto, all rulings and orders, and verbatim transcripts or other recordings of all conferences and hearings before the court-martial” in the Manning case.  CAAF also ordered the Government to provide it with the motion that was filed seeking those materials and any response to that motion.  CAAF allowed the Government to choose to file responsive documents under seal accompanied by an explanation of “why they should be filed with this Court under seal.” PFC Manning’s counsel are authorized to file a response to the Government’s submission no later than 24 August.

One Response to “Interesting order from CAAF in case about public access to Manning court-martial info”

  1. Charlie Gittins says:

    I see this development as potentially a very good one in the line of few cases that have been decided regarding the public nature of a criminal trial.  The Supreme Court precedent on public access is pretty good, if memoray serves me.  The military has been very resistant to public access to court records without any legal justification, in my view.  And, the press has not had an approriate vehicle that would justify the litigation costs to get a military case before the US Supreme Court.  We had a nice confluence of CNN, ABC and the accused in ABC v. Powell/McKinney v. Jarvis, but the question there was just the public access to the Article 32, not the records, unfortunately.  Perhaps the Manning case will end up standing for the proposition that military court martial records are presumptively public as has been adjudged by the US Supreme Court for civilian criminal proceedings.