Earlier this year, in the Marine Corps case of EV v. United States & Martinez, 75 M.J. 331 (C.A.A.F. Jun. 21, 2016) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF determined that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain a writ-appeal by an alleged victim who sought to reverse a military judge’s order for disclosure of portions of her mental health records. Article 6b(e) gives an alleged victim the right to petition a court of criminal appeals for mandamus to enforce various protections, but CAAF determined that the review ends at the CCA.

Subsequently, in  H.V. v. Commander Kitchen, Military Judge, and Randolph, Real Party in Interest, __ M.J. __, Misc. Docket No. 001-16 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. Jul. 8, 2016) (discussed here), the Coast Guard CCA expanded Mil. R. Evid. 513 (the psychotherapist-patient privilege) to also include the psychotherapist’s conclusions (diagnoses) and resulting treatments. The Coast Guard court’s decision was issued under Article 6b(e), and I noted CAAF’s limited jurisdiction at the time, writing:

Another interesting twist is CAAF’s limited jurisdiction to review this decision. CAAF just recently determined that it does not have jurisdiction over Article 6b petitions. See EV v. United States & Martinez, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Jun. 21, 2016) (CAAFlog case page). However, the accused could seek a writ himself challenging the military judge’s application of the CCA’s decision, and that writ could even be sought directly from CAAF. See CAAF R. 4(b). Alternatively, the military judge could apply the CCA’s decision, the accused could be convicted, and CAAF could review the decision in the ordinary course of appeal. Cf. United States v. Cote, 72 M.J. 41 (C.A.A.F. 2013) (CAAFlog case page) (CAAF declined an interlocutory challenge to the AFCCA’s reversal of a military judge’s suppression ruling, but then reinstated the suppression ruling on appeal after conviction).

The accused, however, didn’t file an original writ. Rather, he filed a writ-appeal with CAAF (petition discussed here).

Last Friday, CAAF ordered briefs on the question of whether it has jurisdiction to review the accused’s appeal:

No. 16-0678/CG. Thomas J. Randolph, Appellant v. HV., Appellee and United States, Respondent. CCA 001-16. On further consideration of the writ-appeal petition from the decision of the United States Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals rendered pursuant to Article 6b, Uniform Code of Military Justice, it is ordered that the Appellant and Appellee submit briefs on the following specified issue:

WHETHER THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ARMED FORCES HAS JURISDICTION OVER A WRIT-APPEAL PETITION FILED BY AN ACCUSED WHO IS SEEKING REVIEW OF A COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS’ DECISION RENDERED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 6b(e), UCMJ.

It is further ordered that the United States be substituted for the military judge as a party respondent, that the United States submit a brief on Issue II in the writ-appeal petition and on the issue specified in this Order, that the Appellate Government and Appellate Defense Divisions of the Army, Navy-Marine Corps and Air Force are invited to submit amicus curiae briefs on the issue specified in this Order, that all briefs mentioned in this Order be filed on or before September 30, 2016, and that oral argument will be heard on October 11, 2016, as previously scheduled. Appellant, Appellee, and the United States will each be allotted 20 minutes to present oral argument.

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