The Commissions continue to be news-worthy and rate a position in our Top Ten list. If for no other reason than they exist and continue to draw a large number of judge advocates as advisors to the Convening Authority, as prosecutors and defense counsel, and as judges. This year saw several significant items involving the Commissions.
Many will remember Matt Diaz, a former Navy Lieutenant Commander accused of mishandling classified information by sending information to a journalist. This fall, he lost his fight for his law license before the Kansas Supreme Court. See the order here.
In United States v. Hamdan, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Hamdan’s conviction for material support of terrorism. The case was the first post-trial appeal that the Court of Military Commission Review had completed. See our coverage here.
The 9/11 Conspirators cases and the Al Nashiri USS COLE bomber case continue to march along. The motions hearings have covered classification reviews, defense victim-witness liaisons, transcription of 802 conferences, and the judge’s stock market losses. Several hearings have taken place without the accused; Judge Pohl ruling that the accused’s right to be present can be waived. One interesting issue that was unresolved this year was whether the procedures to screen detainees’ mail interfered with attorney-client communication. In September, the government lost a related attempt to impose restrictions on habeas counsels’ access to detainees. See No Man’s coverage on Judge Lamberth’s decision here. Just over a week ago, DOJ filed an unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal of Judge Lamberth’s order. See coverage here.
NIMJBlog-CAAFlog’s coverage of the Commissions was greatly enhanced this year by volunteers who observed the proceedings. Keiran Doyle covered hearings in mid-October (Here, here, here, and here) and Professor David Glazier covered the arraignments of KSM and the 9/11 Conspirators (Here and here).
The Commissions march on and with them many judge advocates. And I predict that they will be on our Top Ten military justice stories of 2013 as well. Either because they have ended or simply because they continue to march on.