March appears to be “Palmer Month” for the military appellate courts. CAAF today granted review of another case concerning whether Judge Palmer satisfied the impartiality standard to preside over the trial:
AN ACCUSED HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO AN IMPARTIAL JUDGE. APPELLANT WAS SENTENCED BY A MILITARY JUDGE WHO LATER STATED THAT DEFENDANTS ARE GUILTY, REFERRED TO DEFENDANTS AS SCUMBAGS, AND STATED THAT DEFENDANTS NEED TO BE CRUSHED. WAS APPELLANT DEPRIVED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO AN IMPARTIAL JUDGE?
United States v. Pacheco, __ M.J. __, No. 13-0268/MC (C.A.A.F. March 22, 2013). CAAF directed that no briefs would be filed.
CAAF also granted review of an interesting issue concerning a witness attendant in a child abuse case:
GENERALLY, OUTSIDE THE MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM, WITNESS ATTENDANTS MAY ACCOMPANY A CHILD ON THE WITNESS STAND IF THE PROSECUTION SHOWS GOOD CAUSE AND THE TRIAL JUDGE MAKES A FINDING OF COMPELLING OR SUBSTANTIAL NEED. HERE, WITHOUT GOOD CAUSE SHOWN AND WITHOUT FINDINGS OF COMPELLING OR SUBSTANTIAL NEED, THE MILITARY JUDGE ALLOWED A VICTIM ADVOCATE TO SERVE AS A WITNESS ATTENDANT FOR A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD; THEN THE MILITARY JUDGE REFERRED TO THE WITNESS ATTENDANT AS THE COMPLAINANT’S “ADVOCATE” BEFORE THE MEMBERS. DID THIS PROCEDURE VIOLATE APPELLANT’S PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE AND RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL?
United States v. Brown, __ M.J. __, No. 13-0244/NA (C.A.A.F. March 22, 2013). CAAF also ordered expedited briefing, suggesting that the court will hear the case during this oral argument season, which closes 15 May. NMCCA’s unpublished opinion in the case is available here.