This week at SCOTUS: The Solicitor General waived the right to respond to the cert. petition in Sullivan on December 1.

A new cert. petition was docketed in Arness v. United States, No. 15-7160. Last term, in United States v. Arness, 74 M.J. 441 (C.A.A.F. Aug. 19, 2015) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF dismissed the petitioner’s writ-appeal of the Air Force CCA’s denial of the petitioner’s petition for extraordinary relief after concluding that the CCA did not have jurisdiction to consider the appellant’s case under Article 69 because the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force had taken final action on the petitioner’s case without referring the case to the CCA. The petitioner in Arness previously sought and was denied the Supreme Court’s leave to file as a veteran, and has the petition cert. petition pro se.

I’m not aware of any other military justice developments at the Supreme Court, where I’m tracking four cases:

This week at CAAF: The next scheduled oral argument at CAAF is on January 12, 2016.

This week at the ACCA: The Army CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the AFCCA: The next scheduled oral argument at the Air Force CCA is on January 22, 2016.

This week at the CGCCA: The Coast Guard CCA’s oral argument schedule shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the NMCCA: The Navy-Marine Corps CCA will hear oral argument in one case this week, on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 10 a.m.:

United States v. Zambrano

Case summary: A military judge sitting as a special court-martial convicted the Appellant contrary to his pleas, of assault consummated by battery, in violation of Article 128, UCMJ, 10 USC § 928 (2012). The military judge sentenced the appellant to 125 days of 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 the sentence to be executed.

I. Whether the evidece is legally and factually sufficient.
II. An accused has a contitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. Here, the trial defense counsel failed to investigate possibly exculpatory text messages exchanged between one of the government’s main witnesses and the victim, as well as witnesses who might have impeached the credibility of the same witness. Was the defense counsel inffective?
III. In his special findings the military judge found that Lance Coporal Canton talked directly to the victim after the initial report of the assault questioning her as to what happened and that “[t]his testimony shows that Lance Corporal Canton appeared to believe what he heard directly from [the victim].” Is this error because it constituted improper “human lie detector” evidence and if so, did it materilaly prejudice a substantial right of the appellant?

One Response to “This Week in Military Justice – December 6, 2015”

  1. Dew_Process says:

    While not a military justice case, on Friday 4 December, SCOTUS granted certiorari in Betterman v. Montana, where the issue is:

    Whether the Sixth Amendment’s Speedy Trial Clause applies to the sentencing phase of a criminal prosecution, protecting a criminal defendant from inordinate delay in final disposition of his case?

    HERE is a link to the SCOTUS BLOG coverage which also has the Petition, Response and Reply Brief links.
    Considering some of the egregious post-trial delays in getting the Record of Trial put together/transcribed and “Action” by the CA, this could raise a similar issue in the MJ context.  Worth watching.