Yesterday the Judicial Proceedings Panel released it’s initial report. The 160 page PDF version is available here.

The initial report makes eleven recommendations:

  1. The Secretary of Defense examine the DoD and interagency review process for establishing guidance for implementing statutory provisions of the UCMJ and explore options to streamline the procedures.
  2. The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to implement additional selection criteria requiring that judge advocates have adequate criminal justice experience before they are assigned as special victims’ counsel.
  3. The Department of Defense develop a policy to standardize both the time frame within which to receive SVC training and the substantive requirements of SVC training.
  4. The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to perform regular evaluations to ensure SVCs’ assignment to locations that maximize the opportunity for face-to-face interactions between SVCs and clients, and to develop effective means for SVCs to communicate with clients when face-to-face communication is not possible.
  5. The Secretary of Defense establish appropriate SVC program performance measures and standards, including evaluating, monitoring, and reporting on the SVC programs; establishing guiding principles for the Services; and ensuring centralized, standardized assessment of SVC program effectiveness and client satisfaction.
  6. The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to ensure SVCs and victims have appropriate access to docketing information and case filings. In part, this could be accomplished by adopting an electronic system akin to the civilian PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) service.
  7. The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to establish uniform practices and procedures concerning SVCs’ participation for all military judicial proceedings.
  8. The Secretary of Defense consider establishing expedited procedures for victims to seek mandatory interlocutory review in the Service Courts of Criminal Appeals of any alleged violation of victims’ rights.
  9. The Secretary of Defense propose timely revisions to statutes, the MCM, and/or regulations to extend eligibility for SVC representation so long as a right of the victim exists and is at issue.
  10. The President sign an executive order eliminating the “constitutionally required” exception within M.R.E. 412 at Article 32 hearings.
  11. The Secretary of Defense issue specific, uniform guidance to ensure that mental health records are neither sought from a medical treatment facility by investigators or military justice practitioners nor acknowledged or released by medical treatment facility personnel until a military judge or Article 32 hearing officer has ordered their production.

The report also recommends additional study of two areas related to Article 120: “Issues Related to Definitions and Elements” and “Issues Related to Coercive Sexual Relationships and Abuse of Authority.”

9 Responses to “Judicial Proceedings Panel publishes its initial report”

  1. Sea Lawyer says:

    Does anyone else think that the elimination of “constitutionally required” evidence sounds a bit draconian?  Am I missing something here?

  2. Lieber says:

    In the actual report they note that there is no confrontation clause applicablity to Article 32s (true) and that the Constitution always applies (true) whether explicitly stated or not.

  3. Phil Cave says:

    No Sixth at 32 OR on sentencing.  Fifth Due Process – yes.  Is how I’d look at it, or at least that’s what my notebook seems to say:  United States v. McDonald, 55 M.J. 173 (C.A.A.F. 2001).  Confrontation Clause does not apply at a non-capital sentencing.  United States v. George, 52 M.J. 259 (C.A.A.F. 2000), does not compel a different result.  Due Process Clause does apply and requires that the evidence introduced in sentencing meet minimum standards of reliability.  (To the extent this may be relevant to the sentencing issues on another post).

  4. Zachary D Spilman says:

    The argument goes along these lines: The constitution doesn’t require a 32. So there’s no constitutional requirement for anything at a 32. 

    Put differently, because Congress can eliminate the 32 entirely, then Congress (or the President as rulemaker) can eliminate things from the 32.

  5. DCGoneGalt says:

    These proposals will have to wait until Sen Gillibrand can pass the “Columbia Mattress-Toter Inadmissibility of Counterintuitive Texts Act of 2015”.

    It seems the coverage of the allegation involving Sen Gillibrand’s invited guest to the State of the Union may have left out some interesting “counterintuitive” material.  Then again, isn’t DOD’s position that these messages would only strengthen an allegation?

  6. ScottComstock says:

    Concerning #6, I’ve always wondered why the military service courts still aren’t using PACER or something similar.

  7. Monday morning QB says:

    ScottComstock, PACER ain’t free.  Unless you are in the court system or with the USAO, you have to pay for a subscription and pay for each page of the document.  Easier said than done.

  8. ScottComstock says:

    [b]MMQB[/b], I hadn’t intended to imply PACER was free (I know it isn’t).  I’m not a lawyer, and I’ve never served in the military, so I don’t have the perspective a lot of this blog’s readers have.  I’m just an interested taxpayer who’s confused why the military justice system seemingly has no equivalent system, especially in this day and age.

  9. dyskolos says:

    ScottComstock, re: No PACER equivalent for the military.
    For the same reason we fly coach, use old computers, and work in nondescript buildings: we are stewards of the public’s funds and we get just enough to meet requirements.  We do things the old-fashioned way because it’s cheaper.