Judge Osborn is reviewing voir dire questions submitted by MAJ Hasan in his own defense reports AP here (via Philly Inquirer).  Notable form the story:

Osborn also refused Hasan’s request for a delay to hire an attorney. Hasan said Ramsey Clark – who served as U.S. attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson and as a lawyer for the dictators Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic – offered to represent him after hearing about his proposed “defense of others” strategy.

Is it just me or is it notable that both high profile Army cases are being tried before female military judges?

Judge Lind hears from the defense today.  WaPo report on yesterday’s proceedings here.

And in Gitmo news, the 9/11 conspirators trials may be getting a nudge, see AP via Yahoo News here. Prosecutors are asking to set a schedule for pre-trial procedures and a September 2014 trial date.

30 Responses to “Military Justice News for Wednesday, July 3, 2012”

  1. Bill C says:

    In other notable MIJUS news, President Obama has nominated my basic classmate Chuck Pede to the rank of Brigadier General, a well deserved nomination.  Making the 115th JAOBC proud.

  2. Charlie Gittins says:

    “In addition, the prosecution was unable to locate the computer security agreement that Manning signed before he deployed to Iraq. He is charged with violating that agreement in three separate charges.”
    Now that is just funny.  He violated a written agreement that the Government cannot produce?  Brilliant prosecution strategy.

  3. Christopher Mathews says:

    @ Charlie – Oh come on.  You’ve heard of violating the unwritten law.  This is just a variation on that: the invisible agreement.

  4. Phil Cave says:

    And as I was driving home this morning I was entertained by listening to the trial testimony of CPT Alexis Carter, USA, JA, in the George Zimmerman trial.
    It appears that he (an instructor in criminal law at a local college) along with other witnesses were called to talk about classes Zimmerman was given in the law of self-defense and stand your ground.  This was intended to show Zimmerman’s statement to Fix News, that he knew nothing of these legal concepts was a lie and that he had the tools to invent a self defense defense.

  5. Bill C says:

    Why his lawyer allowed him to be interviewed on national news is a concept I don’t understand.  Tried a case against CPT Carter once, so I can now say I have a connection to the trial.

  6. WWJD says:

    Well Bill what was your impression of his litigation skills?
     
    I saw the testimony on you tube.  Kinda got lost on the recipe analogy, his demeanor and explanations didn’t scream Perry Mason at me, but the Defense was able to squeeze in the self defense explanation through him.  Also he was very friendly with Zimmerman “How you doing George”, the fact that he’s Black in a racially charge trial, I think overall his testimony helps the Defense.  Which seems to be a common theme in this trial as a guilty verdict seems to be drifting ever so further away.
     
    Good chance Zimmerman walks, as he should.

  7. Bill C says:

    Our case went away before trial as I recall, so I never saw him in court.  From our brief dealings, he was a very likeable guy. I recall thinking he was a pleasant change from some young TC I deal with.  I am not as quick to say “he should walk.”  I haven’t seen all the evidence yet (and never will) but have so far thought a guilty verdict is still very possible.  Bug again, I am not really paying attention to it. 

  8. WWJD says:

    Thanks for your perspective.  I think its possible due to influence on the jury, not on the actual facts.   The idea that Zimmerman was looking to kill someone that day is ludicrous, and he was clearly attacked first.

  9. stewie says:

    1. I see no evidence he was “clearly attacked first.”  that seems like an assumption of magnificent proportions.  He MAY have been attacked first, of course, he was following a completely innocent minor because as someone who wasn’t even officially part of the neighborhood watch and was a wannabe reject cop with a loaded, and apparently already round-chambered gun.
     
    2. Even if we assume he was attacked first, that does not leap to he was clear to shoot the kid.  His injuries were minor, his descriptions of the events varied and seemingly magnified towards him being in fear of his life.  It is not required that he be “looking to kill someone that day” which would be murder one and not what he was charged with.
     
    The “actual facts” show someone who was reckless, obsessed with being a cop, quick to judgments, ignoring the the 911 operator telling him not to follow the kid, and someone who I think instead of handling the situation reasonably handled it unreasonably.
     
    Now, the prosecution doesn’t appear to have done a very good job from what I can tell, and the police surely didn’t, so there is a very good chance he is acquitted of murder two, and a reasonable chance he is acquitted of manslaughter…but based on what I’ve seen, I’d absolutely convict him of the latter.  He instigated the encounter, he was getting the worst of it (but nowhere near life-threatening), his ego/fear got in the way, and he over-reacted and shot the kid.

  10. WWJD says:

    1.  The back of his head was injured.  His nose bleeding after being sucker-punched.  John Good’s testimony.  Also he was on the phone when he was attacked.  I never met anyone calling someone while attacking.  Congratulations Stewie, you may be the only one in America that does not believe Zimmerman was attacked first.
     
    As far as him following a minor – are you suggesting that’s illegal and grounds to beat someone up with your fist?  I will remember that next time a mall cop or undercover follows me.
     
    2.  Yes, even discounting John Good’s testimony and the Physical evidence he was in fear of his life.  I guess you never lived in a City or had your family members beaten, their bikes stolen, or their cars hijacked.  He was 17,
     
    Try typing in “17 year old kills” into Google – you’ll get thousands of stories.  Most recently the story of Ricardo Portillo being killed after being punched ONCE in the jaw by a 17 year old in a soccer match.
     
    None of your “facts” are relevant.  Treyvon Martin is a 17 year old, who jumped on Zimmerman with the intent of doing him SERIOUS bodily harm or even killing him.  He had no justification to assault anyone, even if they were following them.
     
    Whether Zimmerman was a wannabe cop or took his watch duties too seriously is irrelevant to the fact that he was attacked.
     
    For you and others to believe Treyvon was justified in attacking a man and repeatedly punching him just for being in the vicinity (or even following him) is ludicrous.  To suggest that Zimmerman deserved to be attacked for “instigating” the assault just by being near to Martin and on the phone with 911 speaks volumes on how your mind has been watered down by liberalism.

  11. stewie says:

    1. The back of the head had two minor tiny lacerations.  The medical examiner testified that the injuries were “insignificant.”  Not my opinion, the expert opinion.  His nose bleeding after being punched or hit, sure.  A “sucker punch?” That’s your spin on it.  And no, I’m fairly certain I am not “the only one in America who believes it possible that Zimmerman wasn’t attacked first.”  John Good did not see the start of the confrontation, he saw it in progress…by the way Zimmerman himself says he was the last person on top.  The OTHER neighbor says she sees Zimmerman on top by the way.
     
    I am suggesting that an adult and a minor in a confrontation would suggest that the adult might handle it a wee bit better than Zimmerman appears to have handled it.  I’m also suggesting that a kid with skittles and an iced tea just maybe should have been able to walk home without being killed by an unofficial watchman.
     
    2.  You’ve clearly decided to pursue the let’s get personal approach to argument.  I’ve lived in several cities, including two with a high crime rate.  Of course, I’ve never lived in a gated community in the mean streets of Sanford, Florida so….
     
    I see a lot of emotion in your arguments, but very few facts and not a lot of neutrality.  You’ve decided, for whatever reasons, you know exactly how it went down, and in a manner that assumes fully one version of events.  That’s fine, your right, but you aren’t basing it on anything else.

  12. Christopher Mathews says:

    @ WWJD - Congratulations Stewie, you may be the only one in America that does not believe Zimmerman was attacked first.
    He’s not.

  13. WWJD says:

     
    The lacerations are significant to prove Zimmerman was on the bottom while being punched by Martin. The extent of his injuries (i.e. “minor lacerations” and a broken nose) is irrelevant. Was he supposed to wait until Martin broke his skull open before firing at him? I guess so. Stewie, people like you are the reason why we have idiotic rules of engagement were we must wait until the enemy pulls the trigger before firing back.
     
    John Good testified that the lighter skinned man was on the bottom wearing an orange jacket and the darker skinned man was on top. Although not 100% sure he believed the cries for help were from Zimmerman.
     
    The Columbian and Zimmerman both said he was ontop AFTER the shots were fired, a detail you are conveniently leaving out. Which makes sense, if he was on the bottom he rolled Martin off him – duh.
     
    Other than the bullet in his chest Treyvon only had injuries on his knuckles (from punching Zimmerman).
     
    So yes, Treyvon Martin hit Zimmerman first. It is a fact that only can be disputed if you ignore the injuries that Zimmerman has and ignore the non-injuries Mr. Martin has. Other than the gun shot it does not appear Zimmerman even hit Martin with his fist.
     
    How Zimmerman handled the confrontation is irrelevant to whether he is guilty of murder. Its not a crime to be in the vicinity of someone while calling the police.
     
    The fact that Treyvon had skittles is also irrelevant. Aaron Hernandez had chewing gum as well – I guess he should be declared innocent.
     
    You have some nerve speaking to me about emotion as that is what you are doing, appealing to emotion that a “kid” with an ice tea and skittles is incapable of provoking an assault were grievous injury and death can occur.

  14. stewie says:

    No the lacerations show something happened to Zimmerman.  He was in a fight.  That much is clear.  No one suggests that Martin simply stood there and did nothing.  It was a mutual affray.  We know said affray started because Zim wanted to confront Martin and went looking for him.  We know that Martin was not a violent person, nor was he there impermissibly.  We know that Zim said “they always get away.”  We know that Zim said his head was repeatedly and violent slammed into the concrete yet no blood on the concrete and superficial, insignificant injuries to his head.
    The extent of his injuries are absolutely relevant, both to his specific claims and to generally support the self-defense argument.  I mean it isn’t “people like me” who came up with this stuff, it’s pretty basic law.  Been around since before I was a gleam in my pappy’s eyes.  So while my ego would love to take credit…
     
    Treyvon had one small injury on his pinky finger.  Not knuckles plural, not even sure knuckles singular. Again doesn’t support the argument that Zim was reasonably in fear of his life.
     
    There was no DNA on Martin from Zim…something you’d think would be there if there is blood from Zim that is caused by Martin. 
     
    Here, let me help you: Zim pushes Martin, Martin responds by punching him in the face.  There, I can find a path to Zim hitting first that does not require DNA or straining credulity or even injury. From there, they grapple on the ground then Martin gets shot by Zim.  Either in going to the ground or while on the ground, the shaved head of Martin gets a couple of small cuts, which is essentially what he had.  No concussion, no contusions, things you’d have if your head were repeatedly slammed into the concrete as he claims.
     
    The rest of it is emotional and not worthy responding to.  I’m done, you’ve clearly decided what happened definitively. Given the prosecution’s less than stellar performance, and the difficulties of getting a conviction BRD in a circumstantial case, odds are decent he’s acquitted of at least murder two and more likely than not manslaughter.  I’d convict of the latter, and believe he is guilty of the latter.  You think he was a poor hero.  We aren’t going to agree so you can have the last word.

  15. Ed says:

    Christopher Mathews, WWJD and Stewie
    How do any of your comments advance our understanding of military law  and procedure.

  16. WWJD says:

    Zimmerman’s blood was found on Martin’s undershirt.
     
    What a bunch of drivel, Stewie you have jumped the shark man.
     
    Trayvon was not a violent person, well, excluding him swinging on bus drivers (his Brother’s words) the dope found in his backpack, the screw driver and jewelry he was holding “for a friend” he was an upstanding citizen.  The reason why no charges were filed was because the Campus Police decided to make their crime statistics look better by not reporting said crimes and instead turning over the students for administrative punishment.
     
    But other than referring fights at school, attack George Zimmerman, and hitting a bus driver, not violent at all.
     
    “They always get away” indeed.  Somehow you find this irrelevant statement relevant.  Did you find “Creepy A$$ Cracker” relevant as well?  Or did that factoid not reach your local commie times?
     
    No DNA under Martin’s fingernails means nothing.  You would not expect there to be DNA in a fist fight or on a tool.  Especially when it was RAINING.
     
    So let’s recap your bogus statements:
     
    (1)  Zimmerman’s Blood was not found on Martin – Yes it was, on the hem of Martin’s undershirt.
     
    (2)  Martin was not violent – Uh-huh.  Not according to his Brother’s tweet of Police reports.
     
    (3)  No injury to his knuckles – Yes there was, there was also Marijuana in his system.
     
    (4)  Zimmerman pushed Martin – While on his cell phone talking to 911 for no reason.  Makes sense.  I always like to box while on my cell phone.

  17. stewie says:

    Ed, I think discussing the criminal law in general and through a case can help just fine, and we were all only responding to what Phil began and continued by others but like I said, it was my last word on the subject.

  18. WWJD says:

    Well Stewie, that’s something we both can agree on.

  19. Paleo says:

    This has been an awesome discussion to watch unfold. The comments above perfectly illustrate the most flawed aspect of military justice: emotion + discretionary power = injustice. There is no doubt if there was a parallel for the Martin / Zimmerman case in the military, half of you as potential SJAs would talk your commander into dismissing it altogether and the other half would acknowledge the impossibility of getting BRD and would then tell your commander, “we can always go admin and use preponderance”, because you “believe” something. 
    In the former you provide no chance for a faithful pursuit of justice, resolution, and peace for all concerned. In the latter you almost assure a tragedy for two families, not just one. 

  20. stewie says:

    I said I wouldn’t comment on Zim but I will on this because it’s unfair.  Some, like WWJD, might think it should be dismissed because he clearly thinks no crime was done, others, like me, would think it quite possible to get a conviction BRD for manslaugther and would have gone forward on that.
     
    I wouldn’t have gone forward on murder.  You are engaging in hyperbole.  Most folks are just doing the best they can, whether right or wrong in my experience on both sides of the aisle.

  21. Christopher Mathews says:

    @ Paleo – … half of you as potential SJAs would talk your commander into dismissing it altogether and the other half would acknowledge the impossibility of getting BRD and would then tell your commander, “we can always go admin and use preponderance”, because you “believe” something.
    So you’re saying no one would actually take the case to trial?  That seems unlikely.

  22. Joseph Wilkinson says:

    In the former you provide no chance for a faithful pursuit of justice, resolution, and peace for all concerned.
    Not so.  In fact, when you’ve got “extralegal pressure” to convict someone, you’re more likely to get justice by not trying a case.  At least when the evidence is weak.
    In the military, you get this in sex assault cases, where there’s heavy political pressure for more convictions.  In civilian cases, you get this in racially-charged cases like this one, where there’s a fear of a “Rodney King” result…if you acquit a white man of doing bad things to a black man, a certain segment of the black population will riot, destroy property, beat and kill innocent people, issue “juridicial pardons” in other cases, etc.  The bumper sticker version is “no justice, no peace,” but the pressure is to “do injustice to get peace.” 
    Happily, an awful lot of people will try their damnedest to do justice anyway (and sometimes be excoriated for it) – but the military version is nowise worse than the civilian.   
    Not prosecuting the case would bring “resolution” - it would resolve the case quite neatly.  What it wouldn’t bring is revenge.

  23. rob klant says:

    Fascinating:  no sooner had I had decided the Zimmerman was, legally, uninteresting, let alone instructive to the special cause of military justice, that I’m given cause to reconsider.
    It seems, based on the comments above, that even in the civilian criminal justice system, it is not enough for a result to be deemed “correct”, in terms of its being the product of strict adherence to recognized principles and procedures. 
    Rather, it must also be perceived – reasonably or unreasonably – as “right” or “good”, however “right” or “good” might be defined by some significant portion of the people. 
    And, this in the midst of efforts to eliminate or substantially curtail what is perhaps the last vestige of substantive justice in the U.S. , the military justice system established by the UCMJ.  

  24. stewie says:

    I think the right result is conviction (of manslaughter).  I think the correct result is a trial, which we have.  So if he is acquitted, the system performed as it should.  That’s enough for me.

  25. Zachary D Spilman says:

    It seems, based on the comments above, that even in the civilian criminal justice system, it is not enough for a result to be deemed “correct”, in terms of its being the product of strict adherence to recognized principles and procedures.

    Rather, it must also be perceived – reasonably or unreasonably – as ”right” or “good”, however “right” or “good” might be defined by some significant portion of the people.

    Gee Rob, it seems pretty straightforward: “Instead of stopping to explain that they are helping to administer a continuous system of justice rather than searching for truth, [we] lawyers do the very thing needed to bring down the moral judgment upon [our] heads.” Mellinkoff, The Conscience of a Lawyer at 9 (West, 1988).

  26. ContractLawyer says:

    I wonder if Ben & Jerrr’s will come out with a “We Beat Stupid” flavor?  Looks like the arguments here are along the political spectrum with stupid getting beat. 

  27. ContractLawyer says:

    Stupid got beat, but I do not like to put it in that term.  The system was unjust to Zimmerman by even bringing the case and then trying to change the rules in the end to put forth uncharged counts. 

  28. JAW says:

    In civilian cases, you get this in racially-charged cases like this one, where there’s a fear of a “Rodney King” result…if you acquit a white man of doing bad things to a black man, a certain segment of the black population will riot, destroy property, beat and kill innocent people, issue ”juridicial pardons” in other cases, etc.  The bumper sticker version is “no justice, no peace,” but the pressure is to “do injustice to get peace.”
     
    Thank you, Mr. Wilkinson, for a reminder that IGNORANCE is still very much alive.

  29. Contract Lawyer says:

    I suppose it is a good thing this is now an “older entry” that one has to go looking for.  I am sorry I mentioned this as conservative versus liberal context.  If someone is being tried for a crime and there is also a conservative versus liberal theme being  pushed by sides outside the courtroom, I think any of us would have an obligation to make decisions in this kind of case without regard to the political pressure.  This would mean even if I am a liberal, I would have a duty to vote to acquit even if I do not like him or oppose his right to self defense and right to have a gun.  We cannot say,  “ahhh, I think he should be guilty of something, just not what we had in front of us, uhhmmm there ought to be a law . . .”
     
    We (they) should not be putting citizens’/peoples’ liberty at stake by prosecuting actions that are not crimes.  I am sorry I said stupid got beat.  All that happened is justice prevailed and Zimmerman will not go to prison for 30 years because a large group of people with knowledge or care of the law want him to go to prison.  The same applies the other way around.  I feel sorry for former Alabama governor Don Siegelman who is rotting in the federal pen on about a seven year sentence for something he may have done, but may not have been a crime.  I am not suggesting that politicians not be prosecuted, its just that their guilt should be determined based on the facts, not whether they were lucky or unlucky in getting a politically favorable jury, like with John Edwards. 

  30. WWJD says:

    Well Said