An alleged prostitution ring leads to the  court-martial of an alleged client, but no charges yet against the ringleader. Killeen Daily Herald report here.

Sens. McCaskill and Ayotte pen article supporting their military sexual assault amendments to the NDAA and panning other proposed reforms to strip all CA power in sexual ssault and serious felony cases. USA Today article here. One provision I had missed is the mandatory DD for sexual assault. This abandons the indeterminate sentencng scheme that has been a hallmark of the UCMJ. I wonder if Congress as given thought to what that means for the system as a whole. Does it implicate Apprendi concerns? I’ll need to give that some thought.

And this National National Journal article questions whether any of the reforms will make it through the process fven the current broader budget battle.

When is an attorney taking pictures of their own client newsworthy? At Gitmo. Miami Herald cverage here.

6 Responses to “Military Justice News for Dec. 4, 2013”

  1. John O'Connor says:

    A mandatory Duck Dinner is just a statutory mandatory minimum sentence.  They do not present Apprendi concerns. 

  2. KJRMiller says:

    Agree with O’Connor that the establishment of a mandatory minimum sentence (DD) in a rape or sexual assault, as drafted in both the House and Senate NDAA would not present Apprendi concerns.  Also, as far as abandaoning hallmarks of the UCMJ, the DD requirement for rape and sexual assault would not be the first or only existing mandatory minimum sentence within the UCMJ. 

  3. some TC says:

    <q>”We introduced an amendment…to eliminate using a soldier’s service record as a defense…”</q>So they are going to make an exception to the relevancy rule and also restrict an accused’s constitutional right to present a defense? Can’t see any issues there…

  4. Lieber says:

    Nah, I don’t think that’s the intent.  what they’re getting at is the “good Soldier” defense as an affirmative defense in and of itself…which is an archaicism unique to UCMJ jurisprudence.  the Constitution doesn’t mandate that you get to argue that because I’m really good at my job as a janitor that I must not have robbed that bank.  (which would be the civilian analogue.)  the good Soldier defense is not the same thing as 404 admissible character evidence in civilian courts (which require some actual relevance to the charged crimes).  the good Soldier defense is especially troubling to civilians because it’s a powerful tool for an accused with rank but almost useless for a junior Soldier.  in other words “good Soldier defense” = “good old boys club”

  5. SFC V says:

    I am not opposed to having a mandatory kick for some offenses but is it a solution in search of a problem?  Are panels routinely convicting the accused of a serious offense, sending him to jail, but saying when you get out of jail come on back? Would a better way to do it be to tie the punitive discharge to the length of confinement adjudged?  If the offense is serious enough to send this person to prison for X amount of time then they should get a kick.  But then again I think that already goes into the calculus. 

  6. Tami says:

    I don’t like the idea of a mandatory punitive discharge, it’s not always appropriate for every sexual assault.  Jail is temporary (most of the time), but a punitive discharge is forever.  On the upside, everyone will become entitled to Article 66 review.  But could an appellate court then set aside the discharge?  What about when they refer cases back to convening authorities for resentencing–could the CA commute it?  If they’re going to strip CAs of their power to modify sentences, would this require the CA to order a sentence rehearing all the time?