As a number of our alert readers have noted, Senators Boxer (D-Cal.) and Shaheen (D-N.H.) sent this letter to Secretary of Defense Hagel calling for him to take steps in response to Lieutenant General Franklin’s disapproval of the conviction of Lieutenant Colonel Wilkerson.
They ask Secretary Hagel whether he can reverse the disapproval. This Air Force Times article quotes Yale Law Professor Gene Fidell providing this succinct answer: “Clemency ‘is a done deal. This is final.’” They also urge SECDEF, “in the strongest possible terms, to take immediate steps to restrict Convening Authorities from unilaterally dismissing military court decisions.” But, of course, Congress gave CAs that power in Article 60(c). They also ask Secretary Hagel to “work with us as we consider additional legislative options.” We’ll be on the alert for bills doing away with convening authority’s Article 60(c) authority to disapprove the findings of a court-martial.