So the New York Times thinks that the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals is “widely understood to be the Air Force’s dumping ground for JAG misfits” (as reported here). Well, the New York Times is wrong. The AFCCA is awesome.

Why is the AFCCA awesome? Because today the court published the following order in United States v. Solis on its website (link to order):

Having reviewed the briefs of the parties pertaining to the second allegation of error, the Court believes oral argument on this issue would be helpful. Specifically, the Court desires that the parties address the following issue:

I. WHETHER THE RESULTS OF SCIENTIFIC TESTING ADMITTED AS A BUSINESS RECORD UNDER MILITARY RULE OF EVIDENCE 803(6) FOR THE LIMITED PURPOSE OF CORROBORATING AN ACCUSED’S CONFESSION UNDER MILITARY RULE OF EVIDENCE 304(g) MUST COMPLY WITH THE CONFRONTATION CLAUSE REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO EVIDENCE SUBMITTED ON THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE OF WRONGFUL INVOLVEMENT WITH DRUGS, AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE ADMISSION OF THE TEST RESULTS IN THIS CASE COMPLIED WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS. WILLIAMS v. ILLINOIS, 132 S. Ct. 2221 (2012); BULLCOMING v. NEW MEXICO, 131 S. Ct. 2705 (2011); MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. WASHINGTON, 129 S. Ct. 2527 (2009); DAVIS v. WASHINGTON, 126 S. Ct. 2266 (2006); CRAWFORD v. WASHINGTON, 124 S. Ct. 1354 (2004); UNITED STATES v. TEARMAN, 72 M.J. 54 (C.A.A.F. 2013); UNITED STATES v. BLAZIER, 69 M.J. 218 (C.A.A.F. 2010); UNITED STATES v. GRANT, 56 M.J. 410 (C.A.A.F. 2002); UNITED STATES v. KELLY, 45 M.J. 259 (C.A.A.F. 1996).

Accordingly, it is by the Court on this 21st day of January 2015, ORDERED:

Oral argument is hereby directed to take place at 1205 hours on Friday Monday, the 23rd day of February 2015, at The George Washington University Law Center, located at 2000 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20052.

5 Responses to “Awesome transparency, awesome issue, awesome CCA”

  1. stewie says:

    Refresh my memory, and this is an actual question since I don’t have an MCM handy, don’t remember, and am too lazy to look it up, but does evidence that corroborates a confession itself have to be admissible?

  2. Zachary D Spilman says:

    See my argument preview of United States v. Adams, 14-0495/AR (CAAFlog case page),

    The corroboration rule – M.R.E. 304(g) (2012) (relocated to M.R.E. 304(c) (2013)) – permits use of an admission or confession of the accused against the accused “only if independent evidence, either direct or circumstantial, has been introduced that corroborates the essential facts admitted to justify sufficiently an inference of their truth.”

    Emphasis added.

  3. Zachary D Spilman says:

    Also:

    The role of the members in deciding what weight to give a confession would be undermined if the corroborating evidence were produced only at an out-of-court session under Article 39(a) but not introduced before the members during their consideration of guilt or innocence. As noted by Saltzburg, supra, “[T]he amount and type of corroborating evidence are factors which may be considered by the members in deciding what weight the accused’s confession or admission should receive.” Because the military judge’s ruling in this case precluded the members from considering any corroborating evidence in deciding what weight to give appellant’s confession, the findings that are based solely on the confession must be set aside. See United States v. Faciane, 40 M.J. 399 (C.M.A. 1994).

    United States v. Duvall, 47 M.J. 189, 192 (C.A.A.F. 1997).

  4. christopher bridger says:

    Does anyone know if the oral argument is going on Friday as listed or Monday? The 23rd of February is a Monday.

  5. Zachary D Spilman says:

    The argument will be held on Monday the 23d.