This week at SCOTUS: Former-Specialist Robins is back at the Supreme Court with another jurisdictionless petition for review, this time of CAAF’s denial of his habeas claim in March of this year. Robins, who pleaded guilty to rape of a child, sodomy of a child, and committing indecent acts upon a child, in violation of Articles 120, 125, and 134, is at Fort Leavenworth serving an approved sentence that includes confinement for 25 years. His case was summarily affirmed by the Army CCA in 2011, but then reversed by CAAF in the wake of Fosler. The CCA re-affirmed in 2012 (opinion here) and CAAF denied review. CAAF then denied two separate writ-appeals and requests to file second petitions for reconsideration. Robins, representing himself, then petitioned SCOTUS for review where the Court has no jurisdiction, and was denied on March 15. That same day, CAAF denied a habeas petition that is the subject of this new cert petition that will also, in due course, be denied.
I’m not aware of any other military justice developments at the Supreme Court, where I’m now tracking four military justice cases and the petition for a writ of mandamus in the Partington case that was presumably denied at last week’s conference:
- In Re Earl A. Partington, No. 13-414 (presumably denied on Nov. 26) (CAAFlog coverage of the Partington case)
- Brown v. United States, No. 13-583 (CAAFlog case page) (SG waived response, scheduled for conference on December 13)
- Dalton v. United States, No. 13-589 (synopsis in this TWIMJ post) (SG waived response, pending conference)
- Robins v. United States, No. 13-7376 (jurisdictionless petition; SG waived response, pending conference)
- United States v. Hutchins, No. 13A343 (CAAFlog case page) (SG requested extension of time to file cert petition until Dec 13)
This week at CAAF: The next scheduled oral argument at CAAF is on December 16, 2013.
This week at the ACCA: The Army CCA will hear oral argument in one case this week, on Friday, December 6, 2013:
United States v. Long, No. 20120114
Issue: [Whether] the military judge erred when he failed to properly interpret Article 120, UCMJ, and issued an improper instruction on “competent person,” sua sponte introducing a theory of criminality that was not charged.
This week at the AFCCA: The next scheduled oral argument at the Air Force CCA is on December 12, 2013.
This week at the CGCCA: The Coast Guard Trial Docket shows one scheduled oral argument at the Coast Guard CCA, on January 9, 2014.
This week at the NMCCA: The Navy-Marine Corps CCA will hear oral argument in one case this week, on Wednesday, December 4, 2013:
United States v. Crawford
Case Summary: A military judge sitting as a general court-martial convicted the appellant, pursuant to his pleas, of conspiracy, unauthorized absence, willful dereliction of duty, making false official statements, and larceny of military property valued over $500 in violation of Articles 81, 86, 92, 107, and 121 UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 881, 886, 892, 907, 921. The military judge sentenced the appellant to forty-six months confinement, reduction to pay-grade E-1, and a bad-conduct discharge. The convening authority approved the sentence as adjudged and, except for the bad-conduct discharge, ordered it executed. In accordance with a pretrial agreement, the convening authority suspended all confinement in excess of thirty-nine months.
Issue: Whether thirty-nine months confinement is appropriate, given the non-violent nature of the offenses and where Appellant is a combat decorated Marine who suffered serious and permanent injuries during his combat deployment?
Additionally, the details of last week’s argument are posted and, as a commenter noted, it’s a case that addresses allegations of unlawful command influence by the Commandant of the Marine Corps:
United States v. Easterly
Case Summary: In a mixed pleas general court-martial, a military judge convicted appellant, pursuant to his plea, of adultery, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ7 10 U.S.C. § 934. Contrary to his please, a panel of members with enlisted representation convicted the appellant of one specification of assault consummated by a battery, and one specification of adultery in violation of Articles 107, 128, and 134, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 907, 928, and 934. The members acquitted the appellant of rape and aggravated sexual assault, in violation of Article 120, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 920. The members sentenced the appellant to reduction to pay-grade E-l, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, to be confined for a period of two years, and to a bad-conduct discharge. The convening authority approved the adjudged sentence and, except for the bad-conduct discharge, ordered it executed.
Issue: Military leaders are prohibited from creating an objective appearance that a court-martial proceeding is unfair. Here, the Commandant of the Marine Corps gave a “Heritage Brief” to many marines including members of Appellant’s later court-martial. He declared that 80% of cases like Appellant’s are “legitimate sexual assaults” and that the should “get rid” of Marines suspected of misconduct. Did the military judge err in finding no unlawful command influence and in denying that defense motion?
Edited to add: The audio of the oral argument is available at this link.