This year we will continue our annual tradition and count down the Top Ten Military Justice Stories of 2015.

We invite your nominations for this year’s list. You can make your nomination by email to or as a comment to this post.

Prior Top Ten lists are available at the following links:

29 Responses to “Nominate your picks for the Top Ten Military Justice Stories of 2015”

  1. k fischer says:

    Here is my list of ten with my opinion of their significance in no particular order of importance:
    Airman Brandon Wright acquitted/TJAG commits UCI, but nothing to see here
    Ft. Bragg COJ MAJ Erik Burris convicted of sexual assault; contested Judge Alone trials spike at Ft. Bragg.
    US v.  Stellato, charges against alleged child molester dismissed with prejudice for Trial Counsel’s actions, aka “the banana/box case”
    Bergdahl’s Article 32 and his many, many unsuccessful writs
    FY16 NDAA changes to secure convictions and the veto by POTUS because he doesn’t care about victims
    US v. Soto conviction reversed based on failure to prove element of force, instead of the lambasting the ridiculous notion that a woman will fly across the country thrice to visit her womanizing rapist because she is of Vietnamese descent.
    SVC investigated by NCIS for obstruction in Japan.
    Conviction of Marine in US v. Joseph reversed emboldening Servicemembers to make false allegations.
    Judge Pohl disqualifies GITMO CA in Commissions cases….brassy and big.
    US v. Woods, Panel members who believe that the Accused’s burden of proving his innocence is necessary at Court-martial can be rehabilitated in a five minute discussion with the Military Judge.
    US v. Villanueva, Holding a man’s penis in your hand is admissible 412 evidence to impeach victim’s testimony that he is “hetero” or at least the losing party in the Marine game of “gay chicken.” 
    US v. Guitterez, HIV+ accused having intercourse is no longer a strict liability aggravated assault offense.
    US v. Bowser, dismissal by military judge affirmed for prosecutor refusing to share witness notes that would have impeached credibility.
    US v. Sauk, Government counsel threatened with paper tiger contempt threat.
    After fundamentally changing the UCMJ and solving the military rape crisis, McCaskill and Gillibrand watch “The Hunting Ground” and quickly exit stage left to tackle the College Sexual Assault epidemic.

  2. Jack Burton says:

    Stellato — and still  no one is under PR investigation for this debacle…

  3. Advocaat says:

    Although the NDAA changes went into effect on 26 Dec 2014, 2015 marks the first year of Article 32 as a preliminary hearing.

  4. Zachary D Spilman says:

    But the sky is still up there Advocaat

    The sky is still up there. 

  5. Advocaat says:

    And yet Chicken Little (sorry, CL) doesn’t have to testify about how he/she woke up to it falling.

  6. DCGoneGalt says:

    kfischer’s list in any particular order.  The evisceration of the Art 32 hearing as a truth-seeking forum or really serving any useful function is another story I would put on the list. 

  7. k fischer says:

    Galt:  Wow, that was cleverly creative.  Now go make your own darn list!  Or, at least make the effort to number them in order of importance in your opinion.  You got time; aren’t they doing half-days at Ft. Whereveryouare?  jk.  Hope you have a good holiday break, Bromigo.

  8. k fischer says:

    One alibi:  Senator Gillibrand demands transparency in military justice system by creating a system like PACER, so people can look up court-martial docs.  She must read Stewie’s comments with great interest.  I think it’s a great idea and wholly support it, as well.

  9. DCGoneGalt says:

    I also like the story about sexual contact with an object (stethoscope).  Mostly because I am of the opinion that the drafters intended to include objects in the definition of sexual contact but inadvertently wrote the definition in a way that excluded objects from constituting contact.  But that’s an argument we’ve already covered.
    k fischer:  I have seen no evidence that stewie is not the online pseudonym of Senator Gillibrand? 

  10. k fischer says:

    You did bust out with some very clever hypos in that post, as I recall.  I too have noticed the lack of evidence that Stewie is not the online pseudonym of Senator Gillibrand, nor the evil-opposite, split-personality of Concerned Defender, to which I would recommend that he change his her name to Unconcerned Defender.

  11. G. Burris says:

    Ft. Bragg COJ Major Erik J. Burris convicted of sexual assault on false testimony. Lack of evidence, politically motivated JAG CORP and sociopathic tendencies of accuser (wife). See Article 32 hearing findings. This case would never have gone to trial in a civilian court. This conspiracy (with ex-wife’s civilian attorney) made Major Burris a  “sacrificial lamb” for telling the truth under oath in a previous high profile case. This conviction must not and, for the sake of the US Army, cannot stand.  

  12. NavyDC says:

    k fischer: good list.  In reviewing some of the CAAFLOG articles on those topics, however, I was reminded at how godawful this blog’s comment system is.  Some topics have over 100 comments!
    Can we PLEASE move to a threaded commenting platform? 

  13. stewie says:

    I’ll bite, considering I’ve criticized Gillibrand multiple times on this blog in the past year alone, how am I simpatico with her?
    What positions do I hold (or you think I hold) that make me her online avatar?
    And since I consider Concerned Defender someone not particularly to be taken seriously, I have no problem being his/her opposite most of the time. I would think that would be a normal byproduct of mildly reasoned, non-conspiracy theory thought.

  14. DCGoneGalt says:

    stewie:  It was a joke, kfischer said the Senator must be reading your comments and I merely made the effort at humor.  However, if you are Senator Gillibrand and wanted to appear to not be her, you would probably lay a trial of dissenting opinions using your pseudonym.  I’m just saying I’ve seen no evidence that you’re not her. 

  15. stewie says:

    Well my query was more with kf than you. I don’t know what comments I’ve made that she would ever agree with. She does not appear to want greater transparency simply to see what the actual evidence is…she seems to want it because she thinks it will show an even greater problem.  I believe greater transparency would show a lower magnitude of a problem…and my desire to see the Army be more transparent is because I think if they are, they could do a better job to temper down the “problem” as currently perceived, based in significant part on the Army’s own poor messaging/data collection and presentation.
    I am neither Senator Gillibrand or a pink polka-dotted space unicorn with magical powers over time and space.

  16. DCGoneGalt says:

    I have also not seen any evidence that you are not a pink polka-dotted space unicorn with magical powers over space and time.

  17. stewie says:

    Which is why you shouldn’t ever make me angry.

  18. k fischer says:

    In the past you have expressed support for a PACER like system for the military in the comments on this blog, right?  That’s what I was talking about.  Did you just get off 24 hour CQ or something?  How could you not understand what I was talking about?
    I agree that, as usual, she is bass ackwards in what she wants to happen and what the actual result will be.  Nonetheless, more transparency is probably a good thing. 

  19. stewie says:

    Not so much no. I’ve stated I am not opposed to such a system, but that I think it unworkable unless we double the amount of paralegals and do serious systems upgrades across every installation, at least in the Army.  It’s a fine idea that I don’t oppose, but the practicalities of it are more challenging than folks want to admit.

  20. Ed says:

    G Burris Put any motions and transcripts in your possession on line. I suggest many of those who read this Blog have an interest in the case.

  21. Tami a/k/a Princess Leia says:

    The acquittal of Airman Brandon Wright should be the #1 story–2 years, 2 convening authorities, 2 Article 32 hearings, an out of control SVC, recalcitrant government attorneys on several levels, thousands, if not a million, $$ spent pursuing this case, all the end with an acquittal.  Stellato should be #2.

  22. NavyDC says:

    First episode of the new season of Serial is out… I’m guessing it’ll be in the top 5 for next year.

  23. k fischer says:

    My apologies, Stewie, I confused you with the Silver Fox. 
    And, I’m kinda sad that you missed my Mojo Nixon reference to “Elvis is everywhere”, i.e.  “The evil opposite of Elvis, the anti-Elvis, Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him.”  (And, if you don’t like Mojo Nixon, then your musical taste could use some fixin’……..)
    And, I forgot about CAAF changing the font rules.  That definitely is in my top three.

  24. G. Burris says:

    Ed, RE: Major Erik J. Burris – Concerning his case, for intro, go to the following sites: – Contains Article 32 Hearing summation in full.
    FOX – Interview of 2014/03/30 with Major Erik J. Burris along with a printed copy of the interview.
         This is just the beginning…………The injustice continues.

  25. G. Burris says:

    Ed, Add Military to the list of sites for Major Erik J. Burris. Two articles written by Major Glen MacDonald – go to Archives.

  26. Concerned Defender says:

    Agree with KF’s list.  I’d make the numerous sex assault conviction reversals and acquittals one large article in the aggregate.  I seem to recall a half dozen or more higher profile ones.  Burris should be highlighted too. This case really bugs me – hell, stranger rapes don’t get 20 years. 
    I’d lead off however with the fact that there is probable cause that the Commander in Chief violated numerous laws in the Bergdahl trade, according to the report this week by the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services.  This POTUS should be facing impeachment, for this and a dozen other serious violations (fraud, lying, gun running leading to murders, blocking and frustrating investigations, using the IRS as an instrument of politics, etc.) of the law.  This non-prosecution or impeachment of the POTUS is staggering.  Nixon and Clinton faced impeachment threats/proceedings for far less. 
    But I realize the politics of it…. alas. 

  27. A loyal Tory says:

    Definitely Gutierrez – CAAFlog case page.  Special attention should be paid to CAAFs reliance upon Commonwealth jurisprudence in that case.  Upon learning that the highest military court in America relied entirely upon the case of Her Majesty the Queen v. Cuerrier, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 371 (Can.), to reach its entirely outcome-oriented decision, Her Majesty The Queen was heard to say that it is only a matter of time before her wayward North American colonies return to the fold and voluntarily pay their back taxes.

  28. stewie says:

    “This non-prosecution or impeachment of the POTUS is staggering.”
    Tries to be surprised at the commenter that made this statement: fails.

  29. k fischer says:

    Tries to be surprised that commenter failed at being surprised at commentator’s comment:  fails.