Senior Airman Andrew Witt is one of only six military death row inmates (the others are Gray, Loving, Akbar, Hennis, and Hasan). Witt’s capital sentence in the fourth oldest, adjudged in 2005 after he was convicted of the premeditated murder of a fellow Airman and that Airman’s wife, and of the attempted murder of a third Airman.

The Air Force CCA’s reversal and then reinstatement of the capital sentence was our #7 Military Justice Story of 2014.

Last November (discussed here) CAAF specified two issues for review in the case related to the CCA’s decisions (of note: Article 67(a)(1) requires CAAF to review all capital cases):

No. 15-0260/AF. U.S. v. Andrew P. Witt. CCA 36785.  On further consideration of the record, it is ordered that the parties brief the following specified issues:

WHETHER A COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS SITTING EN BANC CAN RECONSIDER A PREVIOUS EN BANC DECISION OF THAT COURT PURSUANT TO STATUTORY AUTHORITY, APPLICABLE PRECEDENT, OR INHERENT AUTHORITY?

WHETHER A DECISION OF A COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS SITTING EN BANC CAN BE RECONSIDERED EN BANC WHEN THE COMPOSITION OF THE EN BANC COURT HAS CHANGED?

The parties will brief these issues contemporaneously, and file their briefs on or before January 5, 2016. Reply briefs on these issues may be filed on or before January 15, 2016.

Briefing is complete and the briefs are available on CAAF’s website at the following links:

Appellant’s Briefs:
• Appellant’s primary brief
Appellant’s reply brief
Appellant’s brief on specified issues
Appellant’s reply brief on specified issues

Government’s Briefs:
Government’s primary brief
Government’s brief on specified issues
Government’s reply brief on specified issues

The appellant’s primary brief raises 65 issues. Oral argument is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at 9:30 a.m.

Now, in an order issued last week, CAAF is limiting that argument to only the two specified issues:

No. 15-0260/AF. U.S. v. Andrew P. Witt. CCA 36785. In the order of February 9, 2016, in the above-referenced case, oral argument was set for April 26, 2016, at 9:30 a.m., with the issues to be argued to be provided in a future order. Upon consideration of the issues in the case, the Court will hear oral argument only on two issues that were specified in the Court’s order dated November 20, 2015. Each side is allotted 20 minutes to present oral argument on these issues. In view of the existence of a vacant position on the Court, notice is hereby given that the Chief Judge has called upon Senior Judge Walter T. Cox III to perform judicial duties in the above-referenced case, and that Senior Judge Cox has consented to perform judicial duties in said case under Article 142(e)(1)(A)(ii), Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 942(e)(1)(A)(ii) (2012).

One Response to “Oral argument in Witt limited to two issues”

  1. Passing By says:

    Well, either CAAF has decided to bifurcate arguments in this capital case, or they have a pretty good sense of where there are going on the specified issues.  Looks like kangaroo season opens on 26 April.