Here is a link to Global Military Justice Reform’s post of the June 30, 2014, NIMJ submission to the Military Justice Review Group (UPDATE:  Here is the full submission).  Here is a link to the nearly empty webpage of the Military Justice Review Group being run by the DoD OGC.  As we mentioned the MJRG isn’t subject to FACA so there is no transparency requirement, but I have to say that the webpage is still pretty bad even for that low bar.

I am sure Zee will be happy see recommendation #7:

Bring the varied definitions of a “victim,” implemented in the 2013 changes to the UCMJ, into consonance as detailed in CAAFLog’s analysis of the 2013 changes.

There are five different definitions of the term “victim” in these changes, in Article 6(b), Article 32, Article 46(b), Article 60(d), and the new 10 U.S.C. § 1044e (the SVC statute).  See Zachary D Spilman’s comments: 2013 Changes to the UCMJ – Part 6: Practice notes,  available at http://www.caaflog.com/2014/01/10/2013-changes-to-the-ucmj-part-6-practice-notes/ .

My personal favorite, is #13:

13)  Amend R.C.M. 806 or 808 to provide for public and media access to court-martial pleadings and rulings in a timely fashion through adoption of the PACER system or its equivalent.  Such a system would promote transparency and would allow public and media access to court-martial proceedings in a timely fashion, goals that would enhance public understanding and confidence in the administration of military justice.

6 Responses to “NIMJ Submission to the Military Justice Review Group”

  1. Reader says:

    I read AFCCA’s Witt opinion the other day.  Seems like a big opinion, why no mention on CAAFlog yet?
    http://www.stripes.com/news/air-force-court-reinstates-airman-s-death-sentence-for-2004-killing-1.291833

  2. AF JAG says:

    Colleagues,
     
    Here’s some breaking news:  the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals issued two big opinions in premeditated murder in the last 6 days:  United States v. Witt, ACM 36785 (recon), (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 30 June 2014) and United States v. Cron, ACM 38138 (A.F. Ct. Crim. Ap.. 27 June 2014).
     
    First, the Court re-instated the capital sentence in United States v. SrA Andrew Paul Witt, __ M.J. __ (ACM 36785 (recon)) (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 30 June 2014).  Here’s some Stars and Stripes story on the case:  http://www.stripes.com/news/airman-convicted-in-2004-slaying-back-on-death-row-1.250242
     
    The Court reversed their earlier ruling, this time voting 4-2 that there was no prejudicial ineffective assistance of counsel from the failure of defense counsel to present speculative evidence of a “traumatic brain injury” from a one vehicle motorcycle accident 4 1/2 months before the murders that resulted in a negative CT scan and an outpatient release the same day.  The “traumatic brain injury” evidence appears to have been the real crux of the ineffective assistance of counsel issue, as the Court spent considerably less time on allegations that the failure to recover Witt’s mother’s mental health records from a 17 day inpatient stay at a Christian counseling center a decade before the murders, and failure to present “remorse testimony” from a Sherriff’s Deputy who saw Witt cry when presented with crime scene photos of his murders at his Article 32 hearing.  http://afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/witt-36785_recon.pub.pdf
     
    Cron dealt with a grisly premeditated murder where the accused meticulously conspired with the victim’s own wife in the victim’s murder.  The case primarily deals with whether a PTA for LWOP (life without possibility of parole) was “void as against public policy” and has strong language about the knowing and conscious waiver of objections actually being binding on appeal . . . putting some renewed “teeth” into the United States v. Gladue decision (67 M.J. 311, 313 (C.A.A.F. 2009) which purported to say that the “waive all wavieable” motions language in PTAs means what it says.  Here’s the link to Cron:  http://afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/cron-38138.pub.pdf
     
     
    I figured since CAAFLog is fair and balanced, you would naturally want to discuss:)

  3. Zachary D Spilman says:

    Both of the above comments were marked as spam by our filter. In many ways that is exactly what they are.

    Please send me tips (or offers to write guest posts) to zack@caaflog.com 

  4. DCGoneGalt says:

    AFJAG:  Thanks for the link to Witt! 
     
    I was surprised Cron was not incuded in a CAAFlog post.  I find it hard to believe any freely agreed PTA that is obtained with the assistance of competent counsel (and the military always provides this unlike the civilian system) could be against public policy.  If someone wants to enter into an agreement to avoid what would have certainly have been a reasonable sentence of death (not that the military ever would have gotten around to enforcing the death sentence).  Not sure how even “defense hacks” would find fault with those two decisions. 
     
    From my perspective, based on reading your past posts, I think the hint of “defense bias” comes from sexual assault case posts.  I am certainly not most unbiased judge on that matter as I agree with the commenters the vast majority of the time as I would place myself into the “defense hack” category on that specific issue, or witch hunt as I would call it. :)

  5. Phil Cave says:

    I agree with Zach about guesting.
    I did one recently with Dew_Process.  I’m hoping he’s working on one of his own I recommended and will post for him.
    Zach puts a lot of time and effort into his analysis.  So I don’t find it unreasonable he hasn’t dissected Witt or Chron for us yet.
    He’s got a couple of days off coming though in celebration of the second English civil war, and the first American.

  6. k fischer says:

    AF JAG,
     
     
    Speaking of fair and balanced, do you know the result of US v. Wright?  I can’t seem to find a news story on that case anywhere, and it doesn’t show up on the AF docket.  I would really hate for that poor TSgt not to have her day in Court after Wright pulled her on top of him and allegedly raped her after she was so kind to invite him and his fellow lower enlsited buddy over to her quarters for an innocent night of drinking, flirting, and snuggling under a blanket.