Our #8 story in our top-ten list of military justice stories of 2012 included the continuing fallout from a period of instruction given by Marine Corps military judge LtCol Robert Palmer, who “spoke for two hours to five junior Marine Corps officers providing professional military education (PME) regarding the practice of military justice. These officers were law students assigned to various Marine Corps legal offices to work with judge advocates and participate in legal training during their summer recess from law school; some were working for defense, and some for the Government.” United States v. Sanders, No. NMCCA 201200202, 2012 WL 5492306, at *1 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Nov. 13, 2012) (footnotes omitted). The NMCCA wrote:

During the PME, the military judge made various statements not in keeping with standards of judicial decorum. Two of the law students in attendance were concerned with the military judge’s comments and prepared statements reporting that the military judge referred to defendants as “scumbags,” made statements that Congress and the Commandant of the Marine Corps wanted more convictions, and that trial counsel should assume the defendant is guilty. Moreover, pertinent to the facts of this appeal, one law student wrote that the military judge, “said that if you are trial council [sic] and prosecuting a child pornography defendent [sic] and he gets off because of your incompetence you will go to hell;” but further adds that “I think he was trying to be humorous with this comment because he chuckled when he said it.”

Id. (internal citation omitted). A parade of appeals followed. In one such case, United States v. Kish, No. 13-0104/MC (discussed in this post), CAAF ordered a DuBay hearing “to make findings of fact and conclusions of law related to what, if any, statements the military judge made on or about June 21, 2012, at a Professional Military Education meeting with junior officers regarding the practice of military justice.”

CAAF also granted review in eleven other cases.But on Monday CAAF summarily reversed and remanded each of those cases for further consideration after the NMCCA completes its review in Kish.

5 Responses to “CAAF remands cases involving military judge’s comments”

  1. Canada Dry says:

    This isn’t Judge Palmer directly, but related to UCI in the USMC, it has now started: the hunt for the whistleblower(s):
    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20130926/NEWS/309260033/Marine-Corps-whistleblower-relieved-following-allegations-of-email-harassment
    Maj. Weirick being targeted. 
    I will say the 3rd person references to self will be twisted around to make him look bad. However, to label it all as email harassment, is pure hyperbole. The 1ST Amendment is treated in very absolute terms by the SCOTUS, even within military contexts – until the military shows a compelling need to curb those freedoms. The right to present grievances and petition are a big deal. When the Commandant says he wants to ‘crush’ and Maj. Weirick says ‘come clean’, there’re some double standards here. 
    I suspect some high profile civil rights firms will have to cross over into the practice of MilJus to bring an adequate spotlight to this. 
    It’s no coincidence the board for Cpt. Clement is about three weeks away. 
    They’re going to try and make him look like a nut, fabricate faulty ‘risks’, and usher him out through an administrative process. It’s a tactic and not a strategy. The USMC will end up suffering in the long run because the case against it will grow.

  2. Canada Dry says:

    Sorry, I meant to add that I wonder what the law students are now thinking regarding their career prospects after turning in Judge Palmer. These attacks on whistleblowers have to resonate with them.

  3. Neutron73 says:

    @CanadaDry
     
    Wow….just wow.  I knew the Corps was all about protecting itself, but this is reaching epic proportions.  “Threatening/harassing emails?”  I read the stuff in the article and I don’t see any harassment, although the 3rd person references are odd, but funny.  I think the institution of the Marine Corps is seizing the initiative now; they know that this case has somewhat faded from public view, and they will use this to crater Weirick’s career.  I knew they were playing a waiting game to hold out as long as possible, but it seems like they want to cure this headache by cutting (figuratively) off Wierick’s head.

  4. Charlie Gittins says:

    I don’t think this is going away any time soon.  Scarborough from the Wash Times is on it and he is pretty dogged in getting to the story.  I had the same impression as Neutron — harassment because Weiriik sent 1 e-mail asking a guy to tell the truth?  I think not.  So, they order him to turn in his weapons from an off base location in his personal residence?  I would tell them to F themselves — on television.  And the psych eval?  Please, that is such BS — that is transparent bullshit.  If anyone was actually paying attention, the Marine Corps might actually demonstrate its irrelevance to future conflicts by its failure of leadership now.  AMos is going to do irrepairable harm to the institution by his lack of leadership. 

  5. Canada Dry says:

    Charlie Gittins is correct in my opinion. The USMC is really hurting itself in this affair. That is why I labeled their actions a tactic and not a strategy. 
    I don’t believe the requirement to turn in personal weapons from an off-base location would survive a 2nd Amendment challenge. However, that is probably not the issue to dig in with.
    The issue of his computer: I hope he dials up a good forensic expert immediately. 
    Where is Sen. Graham in all of this? He’s a Colonel in the USAF, and a JA.