The Bergdahl case (CAAFlog’s #8 military justice story of 2015) now has its own online repository of case-related documents called The Bergdahl Docket:

CAAFlog’s complete Bergdahl coverage is available at:

12 Responses to “Defense counsel create a website for Bergdahl case documents”

  1. Concerned Defender says:

    I find the defense’s attempts to try this case in the public eye, and having Bergdahl participate in all sorts of propaganda shows and interviews, to be distasteful in the attempts to manipulate the public and taint the Panel pool.  I haven’t looked into the legal ethics of it, but I’d question the legal ethics of such maneuvers.  Prosecutors are supposed to refrain from trying their cases in the public, afterall…  

  2. Goat Farmer says:

    Any chance this case gets referred capital? 

  3. Joseph Wilkinson says:

    Well, this particular site seems to have just the court documents…especially helpful because they bring people closer to the evidence being presented at hearings, instead of second- or third-hand accounts of it.  Of course there’s more to the case than this, but I think it’s a public service that they’ve made these documents readily available in one place.  

  4. Zeke says:

    I disagree, Concerned Defender. The government wants to send one of the common people, whose collective consent it depends on for legitimacy, to jail.  That accused person is presumed innocent, is free, and no free person is obliged to be quiet while the government decides whether to revoke their nature-given liberty.  They’re also not obliged to be respectful of the government’s forum for taking that action.  Criminal procedure is a nice veneer to give respectability to a system of state violence.  A system of state violence is necessary to maintain order in any human civilization, no doubt.  I am not an anarchist; we need criminal law because people have the capacity, and the long-proven inclination, to commit great acts of evil if not restrained by collective governance.  But the whole endeavor of a civilization is about determining, through multiple human-created institutions, when a society can, and when it should, force its will on what would otherwise be a free human being, endowed by nature with certain unalienable rights.   All of the institutions of civilization, not merely the legal institution, are supposed to figure out whether a particular invasion of a person’s liberty is justified.  If a person subjected to a prosecution is not confident that his or her nature-given interests are being fully and faithfully considered when the people’s delegates are trying to strike that balance in the people’s courtroom, then there is no reason the accused should not feel free to resort to the people’s airwaves for relief.  The accused is, after all, still free, at least for now, and the airwaves are available for all free people who wish to be heard.  Pleading his or her case to whomever will listen is both permissible and it is socially moral.  Whether it is smart to do is a different question.  Mobs are dangerous, after all, and an accused person who appeals to mob sentiment runs the risk of that sentiment turning against them.  But, that doesn’t make the endeavor any less legitimate – it just makes it dangerous.  As you point out, the government has no similar freedom.  Government is merely the mechanism of collective rule by the people.  It is bound by the rules (law) the people have placed upon it.  Government action is patently illegitimate if it exceeds the spirit of the bounds that the governed have imposed upon it.  It has no freedoms.  It has no rights.  It has only obligations.  That’s why the prosecution is not also able to try its case in the media like an accused can.  
    There’s no unfairness in the disparity between the accused having multiple forums to litigate his case in and the government having only the courts. The government and the accused are not equals – one is a person with natural rights, and the other is a figment of collective imagination.  Nature has given government no rights, and government is owed nothing from the free human beings nature made.  
    It’s this dynamic that makes me think the victims’ rights movement has been a good thing for our jurisprudence.  At least now there is the possibility that someone can voice at trial, legitimately, the concern that rendering some sort of benefit to an accused may have some sort of adverse impact on an entity with natural rights – a purported victim.  Before, the government’s demands that it should be treated with “fairness” rang hollow because only people have rights.  The government has only obligations.  But, that’s a different discussion, I know.

  5. Concerned Defender says:

    Can an accused person communicate with prospective Jury/Panel or Board members?  Same thing.  These attempts, specifically Bergdahl’s recent interviews and TV show, are carefully planned propaganda in my view.  Possibly harmful to him as well since the people most likely interested in the show may already be inclined to be sympathetic to him.  If I were a Trial Counsel I would challenge for cause anyone who has viewed and become sympathetic to him.  He’s foolishly tainting the pool, as are his defense counsel with their arguments about documents not being released to the public.  Why do they need to be released to the public?  For what reason?  The trial is not being decided by the public.  
    Anyway, these tactics are clearly designed to taint public opinion and I don’t believe that is professional.  Taking such steps by an accused is rare for good reasons…  some of which are articulated above. 

  6. Zachary D Spilman says:

    There’s no unfairness in the disparity between the accused having multiple forums to litigate his case in and the government having only the courts. The government and the accused are not equals – one is a person with natural rights, and the other is a figment of collective imagination.  Nature has given government no rights, and government is owed nothing from the free human beings nature made.

  7. Advocaat says:

    Dear IRS:  I owe you nothing.  You are a figment of my imagination.

  8. charlie gittins says:

    The documents should be in the public domain.  The Government was trying to hide the ball.  I am pleased to see that the defense is interested in transparency, because it has been my experience that the G is almost never interested in transparency.  I am a firm believer in the concept that sunlight disinfects.  Hence, cases like ABC v. Powell (closed Article 32 effort thwarted by Petition for Extraordinary Relief), Schmidt v. Boone, 60 MJ 1 (Government effort to insert itself into client’s sharing of classified info with CDC helpful to the defense and known to the accused (but not necessarily to the TC) thwarted by Extraordinary Relief.  I always laughed when the G claimed they had a right to due process.  Really?  Since the due process clause is in the Bill of Rights (which regulate individual liberty), I always asked the G to point out where the right to due process is found for the G.  Blank stares usually followed.

  9. Concerned Defender says:

    My apologies to anyone who thinks I would suggest the “beer summit” Constitutional Lawyer President would try to inject himself into the legal process and tamper with the outcome.  Clearly his statements that “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon…” and “Travyon Martin could have been me,” and the ensuing political pressures resulted in Zimmerman’s prosecution (and unanimous acquittal). Regardless of a finding that Trayvon was the violent aggressor and Zimmerman acted in defense, Mr. Obama still cites Trayvon as a victim and honors him and his family!  
    Then there’s the racial division created and fueled by siding with the violent criminal Michael Brown (the black attacker) in Ferguson, where the DOJ was ordered to investigate in spite of clear evidence that Brown was the violent, thuggish attacker and Wilson (the white cop) was the victim and acted in lawful self defense.  Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore is another example of how this POTUS has instigated rioting, death, and racial division by foolishly and naively injecting himself in the process to further an agenda. Baltimore and Ferguson burned to the ground with record murders, largely fanned by the tax cheat White House adviser Al Sharpton and Mr. Obama’s racially divisive comments… furthering a narrative in direct contradiction with the facts.
    In many cases, such as these, this administration has honored the perpetrators by sending officials to their funerals and siding with them over law enforcement, failed to attend law enforcement funerals, or highly publicized white victims at the hands of blacks and hispanics that don’t fit the narrative of this administration (Kate Steinle, murdered in cold blood by a repeat felony offender and illegal immigrant for instance), where Mr. Obama is conversely quite silent and apparently indifferent to the deaths of law enforcement and whites at the hands of blacks and illegal immigrants…  
    And on that note, an administration that has quietly prematurely released tens of thousands (36,000 in 2013 alone) illegal immigrants with criminal records, every year?  And failed to support Kate’s law… 
    So, yeah, not too inclined to believe in the Administration that traded 5 top level terrorists in an naive effort to close Gitmo for someone whome everyone that served with him believed deserted his post.  Could it just be that the politically motivated administration has once again injected itself in a process and again on the wrong side of the facts?  Or maybe it’s just my imagination and it’s really Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick…

  10. DCGoneGalt says:

    In the words of the great Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly.  I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

  11. stewie says:

    Brick killed a guy.
    Thanks Obama.

  12. Zachary D Spilman says:

    And with that comments on this post are now closed.