Update (Feb 14, 2018 @ ~1230 eastern): The original title of this post was based on my read of Carol Rosenberg’s reporting (quoted below). But, after reviewing the unofficial transcript of yesterday’s proceedings in the al Nashiri case (available here), I get the impression that Colonel Spath wants the civilian attorneys brought to testify remotely, by video teleconference (VTC), from the Mark Center in Alexandria, VA, and not brought to Guantanamo. Colonel Spath stated:

The witness [the civilian defense counsel] clearly refused, through counsel, because I saw the e-mail. And the Attorney Fox said they’re not showing. And I assume he can speak for them since he’s their attorney. And so I can’t see a valid excuse. Again, the e-mail that I was shown said I lack jurisdiction; I don’t. And that the — having to appear at the Mark Center by VTC for DoD civilians employed in D.C. would be oppressive, with no evidence to the contrary.

Transcript at 11909-11910. There are significant optics (if not legal) differences between a warrant of attachment to appear in Virginia and one to appear in Guantanamo.

Original post:

Air Force Colonel Vance Spath – the chief judge of the Air Force and a judge on the military commissions (and the person who held General Baker in contempt) – apparently wants federal authorities to use force to bring two DoD civilian attorneys to Guantanamo.

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports here that:

The judge in the USS Cole terrorism case ordered prosecutors Tuesday to draft warrants instructing U.S. Marshals to seize two civilian defense attorneys who have quit the case and ignored his orders and a subpoena to appear at the war court.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, said he would sign the “writs of attachment” on Wednesday and cautioned from the bench that the lawyer for Pentagon-paid attorneys Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears should hustle to federal court, if the lawyer wants to stop what are essentially arrest warrants.

A warrant of attachment (see R.M.C. 703(e)(2)(G)(i); R.C.M. 703(e)(2)(G)(i)) is a “legal order addressed to an official directing that official to have the person named in the order brought before a court.” R.M.C. 703(e)(2)(G)(i) (discussion). The Manual for Courts-Martial provides the following discussion:

Subpoenas issued under R.C.M. 703 are federal process and a person not subject to the code may be prosecuted in a federal civilian court under Article 47 for failure to comply with a subpoena issued in compliance with this rule and formally served.

Failing to comply with such a subpoena is a felony offense, and may result in a fine or imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the district court. The different purposes of the warrant of attachment and criminal complaint under Article 47 should be borne in mind. The warrant of attachment, available without the intervention of civilian judicial proceedings, has as its purpose the obtaining of the witness’s presence, testimony, or documents. The criminal complaint, prosecuted through the civilian federal courts, has as its purpose punishment for failing to comply with process issued by military authority. It serves to vindicate the military interest in obtaining compliance with its lawful process.

R.C.M. 703(e)(2)(G)(i) (discussion).

Carol Rosenberg also reports that:

The judge had earlier Tuesday expressed a reluctance to have the women seized. He said in court that their arrests could cause them to lose their security clearances and jobs with the Department of Defense and thwart his goal of having them return to the defense team of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri.

That’s a pretty unrealistic goal, particularly since Rule for Military Commissions 502(d)(3)(C) states that civilian defense counsel in a military commission must:

[have] not been the subject of any sanction of [sic] disciplinary action by any court, bar, or other competent governmental authority for relevant misconduct

Such sanction or disciplinary action seems to be inevitable (if it hasn’t actually happened already). This is – by the way – a unique rule for the Guantanamo commissions; there is no similar limitation on civilian defense counsel in courts-martial.

But even if al-Nashiri’s former civilian defense counsel aren’t disqualified by rule, there’s the fact that now facing a real threat of arrest and involuntary relocation to Guantanamo, they almost certainly have a conflict of interest with the accused.

And we know what that arrest will look like, because it’s happened before. The last person subject to a warrant of attachment from a military commission was demobilized Navy Reserve Lieutenant Commander Stephen Gill – a judge advocate – who (also according to Carol Rosenberg’s reporting):

was picked up at his home, apparently in Massachusetts, on [Tuesday, October 18, 2016] “at gunpoint,” he estimated by 20 officers, put in three-point restraints and held overnight at an Alexandria County, Virginia, detention facility.

51 Responses to “Military commissions judge wants civilian defense counsel forcibly brought to Guantanamo [update: or Virginia]”

  1. slyjackalope says:

    Have the Marshals forcibly remove two civilian defense counsel to an enemy communist country?!?!?  “Uh oh, I think I heard a toilet flush.  Maybe somebody lost a turtle [or someone’s career].”

  2. slyjackalope says:

    I think I’ve seen a movie about something like this happening before.  Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

  3. Former DC says:

    Clearly some adult supervision is called for. I bet the habeas or injunction (not completely clear on the procedure) will be filed before noon. 
    Come on, man!

  4. Charlie Gittins says:

    Spath has clearly lost his mind and probably his objectivity.  Time for the adults in the room to make a change.

  5. Ed says:

    These cases should go to the federal courts. They would be over by now.

  6. curiouser and curiouser says:

    If the problem is that these lawyers quit the case because the CIA is recording their attorney-client communications, then how does any of this help anything?  It all seems counter-productive to the government’s stated purpose of prosecuting terrorists.

  7. Bionic Barry Dylan says:

    Never thought I would say this…but I definitely agree with Ed.  It is time to shut the Commissions down.

  8. Alfonso Decimo says:

    The snail-pace of the commissions has been an embarrassment for a decade or longer. I am sure Judge Spath regrets the day he was assigned and these rulings reflect a desperate frustration with the system. How did the USAF Chief Judge end up in that role? Sometime prior to finding General Baker in contempt, he should have made a transfer-or-retire ultimatum to the AF JAG. BTW, aren’t Chief Judges all one-stars?

  9. anon counsel says:

    This. Is. Nuts. I don’t think that Spath is doing the right thing here.  But to all those who agree with me — what IS the right thing here?  Is there a right thing at all? Other than trying these cases in the federal courts, where they belong, I can’t think of a good way out of this for Spath.  

  10. Bill Cassara says:

    AD:  Chief trial judge is an 0-6. Chief appellate judge is a one star (at least in the Army.)

  11. Former DC says:

    @anon counsel: The question is whether the withdrawal was in good faith, as opposed for an improper purpose like delay.  It seems, based on what we know, that this was in good faith.  We can argue over whether the proper procedure was used, as it seems like both BG Baker and COL Spath have reasonable arguments, but that seems irrelevant.  Last time I checked, involuntary servitude was unconstitutional, and if I was any kind of accused – especially there – I wouldn’t want a defense counsel who didn’t want to be defending me, so I would be demanding they be released anyway.
    It seems to me that egos have gotten involved.  I know none of the players, but we all know plenty of field grade and general officers, and thus, know that they usually don’t back down (there are exceptions, I know, but nothing I have seen here suggests one of these officers is an exception).  Thus, it is going to have to be someone outside, who has no stake in the game (like say, a federal district judge), that puts the brakes on.  Otherwise we are going to need measuring tapes soon.  I don’t see any of the players on the field doing anything but turning up the heat.
    I too have reluctantly come to the conclusion that this whole commission process has come to a bad end.  Not sure how we got here, considering the original version (WWII) went so smoothly, but that is a discussion for another day.

  12. Bionic Barry Dylan says:

    @ Former DC: Spot on.  This is going to require the intervention of a third party.  I can’t help but wonder what Secretary Mattis and General Dunford think about this.

  13. Zachary D Spilman says:

    The last time a DoD official tried to exercise control over the commissions, it ended badly

  14. Former DC says:

    @Zack: Last time I checked, UCI didn’t reach the Article III courts.

  15. Random JA says:

    I don’t disagree that federal court is the better venue for these cases. But saying that, the issue is that Spath, based on facts, has unequivocally ruled that there is no listening in on attorney-client communications. As such, his position is that the basis for abandoning the client–as he says–is not merited and the civilian GS attorneys should explain on the record why they seek to leave the case. In light of his ruling, Spath views this as a tactical gambit by the defense team.
    It also should be noted that Spath apparently went off, on the record this morning, about this CAAFLOG posting, saying that the reporting is inaccurate and that “accuracy matters.” He says he is just exploring all options. I’ve practiced in front of Spath, and he always was pragmatic.

  16. Bionic Barry Dylan says:

    @Zack: was trying to say that I wonder if Secretary Mattis and General Dunford think that maybe it is time to shut down the Commissions and move these cases to Federal Court?

  17. Philip D. Cave says:

    I’m having problems with counsel, who are on the record, not appearing to explain on the record why they should be excused.
    Have been in the situation of having a “conflict” with a client that meant I had to get released.  We went on the record and I very carefully explained why I should be excused.  This happens all the time in civilian court I believe and I’ve seen a number of Ethics CLE presentations that delve into the ethics of getting out and how to do it ethically, and what you must do if not released.
    If the judge denies the release, then counsel must proceed as ethically as possible having preserved the issue for appeal and as a defense to a later bar complaint or IAC claim on appeal.  MAKE IT ABOUT MAKING THE RECORD NOT ABOUT YOU.  At that point the appellate authorities will have to decide if the judge abused discretion–defense you have shifted the burden and the blame to the judge (and the idiot government counsel if they object to the release)!!!!  By appearing and presenting facts and argument you have set up the appellate issue and the judge.  And who knows, the judge might agree with you.  Sad, but that’s how it works–or should.
    Ask yourself, is this something you’d see or do at a court-martial?  I think not.  The Commissions are SNL fodder, don’t add to it.

  18. Bill Cassara says:

    Random JA:  I certainly hope that isn’t true.  Judges shouldn’t be reading outside sources about cases over which they are presiding.

  19. Former DC says:

    @Phil:  Your point makes perfect sense in a court martial, or for that matter, in any US court, state or federal.  I have seen it many times. But the commissions have two differences that give me pause.
    First is the aforementioned debate over who has the release authority.  It seems the counsel agree with BG Baker.  So far as I am aware, that question remains open.  It seems to be a good argument that Spath’s contrary decision is fairly contained within Baker’s habeas, and thus, is under examination by another court.  Under that logic, if I were the counsel (I am not), I might point out that I have already been released by (arguably) competent authority, and thus, Spath has no power over me, therefore, no record to be made.
    Second, the commissions are outside the US, and seem to be acting right at the edge of the law.  I, for one, would have great concerns about going down there to make a record, only to find myself unable to leave and facing a long and expensive court battle to get free.  Paranoid, maybe, but there have been lots of things that have happened in this mess that I would have bet just a few years ago would never happen, so maybe not so paranoid.

  20. Visitor says:

    I am troubled reading some of these ignorant comments.  I suppose they are being made by those not following the case very closely.  Perhaps some are due to ideologically driven minds, I just don’t know.  In what universe is a subpoena just blown off?  In what universe can either party (Government or Defense) simply disagree with rulings and ignore them?  There are systems in place when a party is convinced the Judge is simply wrong.  These actions and simply ignoring Rulings because you don’t like them is nothing short of contempt.  I think they will succeed in nothing more than further delaying this case from going to trial, but I don’t think this will otherwise end well for either the Client of the Defense Attorneys. 

  21. Zachary D Spilman says:

    These actions and simply ignoring Rulings because you don’t like them is nothing short of contempt.

    Except, visitor, that’s it’s not contempt as the term applies to the Guantanamo commissions (see discussion here). 

    There are, of course, serious problems with counsel refusing to participate in the commissions process. But bringing those counsel before the commissions against their will, or holding them in contempt for their seemingly good-faith objections and concerns, seems to me to only make the problems worse.

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

    The civilian counsel were already released by competent authority over the government recording privileged communications.  Seems to me there is no authority to issue arrest warrants to haul them to GITMO.

  23. Charlie Gittins says:

    Last time I checked, US subpoena power does not extend to requiring a person to leave the United States.  I wonder what dog “Visitor” has in the fight?  The Judge’s ruling on the release of counsel is based on the Benchbook rule.  The Rules promulgated by the President for the Commissions provide that CDCC has the power to release counsel.  Hierarchy of laws/regulations still places a President’s rule above a Judge created benchbook.  Where they don’t agree, the BB rule has to yield.  And, of course there is the very real definition of contempt under the Commission Rules which does not extend to ignoring the ruling of a Commission Judge.  So, I think it would behoove the process to appoint new death qualified counsel, if any can be found, and get back to work instead of whining about the state of the case.

  24. Fred Simmons says:

      I don’t think this will otherwise end well for either the Client of (sic) the Defense Attorneys.

    Sounds like this scene from “the Fist Foot Way”……hotshot……

  25. Zachary D Spilman says:

    This post has been updated to reflect that the transcript of yesterday’s proceedings supports the conclusion that Colonel Spath wants the civilian attorneys brought to testify remotely, by video teleconference (VTC), from the Mark Center in Alexandria, VA, and not brought to Guantanamo.

  26. Philip D. Cave says:

    Zach, which I believe is what happened to the prior arrestee?  So, would that obviate the objection to being brought outside the US on a subpoena?

  27. Zachary D Spilman says:

    Gill was – according to the news report – brought to Virginia to testify via VTC. 

    The confusion arises from the fact that Colonel Spath has issued a number of orders to the civilian defense counsel in this case, some explicitly requiring their appearance in Virginia and others implying that they are to appear in Guantanamo.

    Specifically, on November 1, 2017, Colonel Spath issued Appellate Exhibit 389J (available here), ordering Kammen, Eliades, and Spears to appear in Virginia. 

    But on December 5, 2017, Colonel Spath issued Appellate Exhibit 389X (available here) and 389Y (available here), ordering Eliades (389X) and Spears (389Y) “to appear at the next session and continue representation of the Accused.” No location was given. 

    Then, on December 11, 2017, Colonel Spath issued Appellate Exhibit 389AA (available here) and 389BB (available here), with substantially identical wording that:

    This Commission previously ordered Ms. Rosa Eliades to appear at the next US v. Nashiri hearing scheduled from 16 thru 26 January 2018. Pursuant to AE 390A, the January 2018 hearing schedule is revised and will take place from 18 thru 24 January 2018, at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Accordingly, Ms. Rosa Eliades is ORDERED to appear at this session and continue representing the Accused, as she is ethically obligated to do, or show cause as to why she cannot continue representing the Accused. 

    Appellate Exhibit 389AA.

    On its face, that’s an order to appear in Guantanamo. 

    The al Nashiri docket (available here) reflects that various motions and briefs were filed in connection with these orders, but the actual filings are not (yet) posted. 

  28. Visitor says:

    No Dog in any of this.  Again if the Judge is wrong it is up to a higher court to determine that, not commenters in a blog and certainly not the Defense Attorneys that have been ruled against.  Also – there is  
    Tami – you are a perfect example.  If only you knew a little more about what you are talking about.  The Judge has ruled against the premise that good cause existed and determined they are not released.  Until he is overruled by a competent authority – end of discussion.  Also, read the transcripts before suggesting the intent is to haul the attorneys to GITMO.  —-  
    “Your Honor, briefly, we have no indication from the individuals that they will comply with the subpoenas which are, as written, to appear at the Mark Center to be ready to testify at 10:00 tomorrow, Tuesday.”  For those unfamiliar – the Mark Center is in Alexandria, Virginia USA. No requirement to leave the United States.

  29. Nathan Freeburg says:

    I have no dog in this hunt. But subpoenas are indeed sometimes ignored on occasion where the subject disagrees with the authority to issue the subpoena (albeit usually with associated motions to quash).   As for court orders, jurisdiction and standing are everything. And sometimes non-compliance may be the best way to preserve the issue.
    (I don’t know who is “right” in all this and I haven’t followed it closely, but a court order doesn’t inherently end the discussion if there is a lack of legal authority to give the order.  Under some circumstances, non compliance may be the best choice over compliance and protest.)

  30. Former DC says:

    @Visitor: The thing is, we discuss all sorts of issues here, taking all sorts of positions.  This blog is all about discussing the issues.  I for one respect opinions on the issue from anyone, including the one about halfway down your last post about Spath’s ruling.  I found Phil’s comments quite useful, and was glad to engage with him as to what gives me pause in agreeing with him.  But that doesn’t mean any of us cannot express a view that the ruling is incorrect, especially when the speaker backs their argument up with law.
    You will also notice that ad hominem is disfavored.  Or as my first boss in the military justice said, we disagree without being disagreeable here, or at least try to.
    That said, I refer you to Charlie Gittin’s comment above where I noted that the conflict between BG Baker’s reading of the Rule, versus COL Spath’s ruling based on the benchbook, seems to be infirm.  Also see my comment about how this is fairly contained in BG Baker’s habeas petition – still outstanding, I believe – and Zack’s extensive discussion of the limits of COL Spath’s authority in this situation.  It seems that you hold a different position.  Can you provide some sort of reasoned argument, based on the law, that supports that view?  I, for one, would like to hear it.
    Welcome to CAAFLog.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Usually when stating your position on an issue, using fact to back up said position lead to “credibility.”  Not ad hominem attacks that really do the opposite of strengthening your position and your credibility.  

  32. Civis says:

    In a free society, whether something is correct in law or policy is most certainly “for” commenters in blogs to discuss. 

  33. Visitor says:

    If any of my comments were taken as an ad hominin attack please accept my sincere apology.  There is a certain tone throughout – granted it is geared mostly toward the Military Judge.  I will be more respectful and not lower myself.  I stand by my statement concerning many of these complaints (not all) are driven by misinformation, lack of information or some type of agenda/ideology.
    This case and this particular issue is plagued with false narratives and disingenuous arguments.   
    The Facts are the Judge has made a number of rulings (which include for example denying a motion to quash a subpoena, ruling that the ethical conflicts in fact do not exist and that counsel have in fact not been excused).  Until a competent authority decides otherwise – the subpoena is lawful and violating it risks warrants and other significant consequences.
    If the Defense ever challenges these rulings (by actually appealing to a higher court or in federal court) they might be proven correct.  Until that happens, the practice of simply ignoring rulings rises to the level of contempt.  These actions being taken disrupt the proceedings and fall under the definition of disorder.  If I am wrong then Marine Corps General Baker and all three of these Defense Counsel will be off the hook.  Last I checked the contempt findings against the Marine JAG have yet to be overturned.

  34. Zachary D Spilman says:

    the practice of simply ignoring rulings rises to the level of contempt.  These actions being taken disrupt the proceedings and fall under the definition of disorder.  

    That’s wrong, Visitor, for the reasons analyzed in depth here and here

    The argument that not appearing is a disruption is particularly problematic, as it assumes that a person can disrupt a commission proceeding (by “riot or disorder,” as the statute requires) by doing something outside of and far away from the actual proceeding.

  35. Defense Wizard says:

    Contempt in the context of your local state or federal court proceeding is different than contempt at the Commissions. For instance, in a divorce or custody proceeding, violating an order may be “contempt” within that context, but as Zach has analyzed, contempt has a much narrower definition. That said, ignoring court orders of any court (or commission) may give rise to problem with one’s bar, entirely independent of the court’s ability to sanction the offending behavior. 

  36. David A. says:

    “Visitor” there is no “Marine JAG.” Marine Corps Judge Advocates are line officers. 

  37. Kettle Black says:

    It’s rather breathtaking to me that some individuals immediately dogpile on Visitor for a relatively weak ad hominem (it hardly was one, frankly), yet they apparently were willing to accept the beginning comments to the post accusing Col Spath of being insane and needing adult supervision.  If you initiate a discussion at a discourse level of mockery and contempt, then you can’t be surprised or offended when someone responds in-kind from the opposing position.
    I would certainly like to see this blog be a place for respectful discussion, but let’s not fool ourselves.  It only occasionally is.  Open nearly any post over the last five years, and you will find post after post of over-the-top comments, shoot-from-the-hip zingers, and straight-up insults directed at the parties of the case or fellow posters.  The number of times someone has posted about this imbecile of a judge, or that incompetent defense attorney, or those unethical trial counsel – in increasingly colorful fashions, I might add – is countless.  Hell, people treat some specific posters on this site with repeated contempt no matter what they post.  The idea that we typically rise above the muck is just the usual arrogant or elitist mentality we attorneys project…that we enlightened few do not engage in the same dumpster fire activity that is seen in the comment sections of your average, plebian news site.  Yea, right.
    I enjoy this blog, and I make no claim to be above anything, but let’s drop the pretenses.

  38. Defense Wizard says:

    We are nowhere near plebian news site comment section dumpster fires. I’d say we are closer to the verbally abusive relationships that many TCs have with their fellow TCs and other lawyers in their command.

  39. DCGoneGalt says:

    I feel like this story and the comments is from Duffelblog.
    If verbally abusing one another in a comment section is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

  40. J.M. says:

    Visitor, How’s the weather in Gitmo? To the point, I simply don’t believe you don’t ‘have a dog in this fight’. 

  41. Visitor says:

    LOL – I guess I wish I was in Cuba.. my phone says it’s a high of 89 and 90 degrees and sunny everyday for the next several days.  It’s a little colder where I live.  So in addition to being full of ad hominem attacks – I’m the one called a liar.  Goodnight ladies and gentlemen.

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

    The “take it up on appeal” theory is what led to the big giant bitch-slap in Riesbeck.

  43. David Bargatze says:

    David A.,
    I’m not sure at what you’re getting by asserting that “there is no ‘Marine JAG'” by pointing out that Marine judge advocates are line officers. All Marines officers are line officers. They may be designated judge advocates in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 5587a, and the common acronym for a judge advocate is “JAG,” so I think there is such a thing as a Marine JAG. I considered the possibility that you were making a reference to the Marine Corps having a Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant rather than a service Judge Advocate General, but BGen Baker isn’t either, so that point would seem to be irrelevant.
    FWIW, the DoD service split on having JAGs as line officers is 2-2. Marine Corps and Air Force JAGs are line officers; Army and Navy JAGs aren’t (Army JAGs being a special branch rather than a basic one, which is akin to a non-line/line delineation). If we use the Coast Guard as the tie-breaker, then it’s 3-2 in favor of JAGs as line officers.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Air Force JAG’s are not line officers.  They have their own promotion boards, like Medical officer, and aren’t part of the line officer promotions (Pilots, Navs, ABM’s, Security Forces, Civil Engineers, etc).

  45. David Bargatze says:

    The fact that AF JAGs have a separate promotion category does not mean that they are not line officers. In fact, the formal name of the promotion category for AF JAGs is “Line of the Air Force – Judge Advocate (LAF-J).”
    It used to be called the “Judge Advocate (JAG)” promotion category, but the name was changed to correct the impression that JAGs weren’t line officers because they weren’t in the “Line of the Air Force (LAF)” promotion category. So now there’s LAF and LAF-J. Despite that, it seems some confusion persists.

  46. Joseph Wilkinson says:

    I’m not sure at what you’re getting by asserting that “there is no ‘Marine JAG’” by pointing out that Marine judge advocates are line officers. All Marines officers are line officers…
    When then-MAJ Ernie Harper taught at the Army JAG School, he was adamant about it.  “We don’t have a JAG Corps.  We have a Marine Corps.”  His lessons were extremely memorable.  I figured it was like the “don’t say ex-Marine” thing and left it alone.

  47. Tom Booker says:

    Army Judge Advocates are in one of the “special” branches (as opposed to a “basic” branch, such as infantry).  Their GO personal flags are purple instead of red.  Navy Judge Advocates are in a staff corps.  Their flag officers’ personal flags are white instead of blue (and this is true of the restricted line, such as EDO, as well).
    The Air Force distinguishes, for certain command authority purposes, between officers rated for flight in manned aircraft and those not rated for flight in manned aircraft.  Fighter pilots (I know my old Deputy Commander, an Air Force BUFF driver, would cringe at this), bomber pilots (more to his liking), navigators, even C-130 pilots (“trash haulers” he called their aircraft), are “rated”; missileers and judge advocates are not.  I’m pretty sure that all GO (except perhaps for the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force) use the same type of flag, AF blue plus stars set out horizontally.
    Every Marine is a rifleman.  Marines can be assigned the judge advocate MOS, but they also bear a secondary MOS and in appropriate cases can be put in command of units.  If you look at BGen (Ret.) Joe Composto’s official biography, for example, you will see that he commanded the GDSF at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a Colonel.  There was a time when there was a special MOS, 9914, for “Colonel, Judge Advocate,” but I think it wasn’t used when a judge advocate was filling a combat arms billet.  One Corps, one flag.
    Coast Guardsmen used to be all lumped together, too, and we have seen “law specialists” (as they were then called) in command of units; Gary Palmer, the first CG law specialist on the staff of Naval Justice School, commanded a 210-foot cutter when he left the schoolhouse.  The CG keeps it simple with flags, too.
    Sorry to go all geeky on you.
    Respectfully, LTB

  48. Burt Macklin says:

    The above comment marks the first, and likely only, time I actually learned something from the comments section here.

  49. stewie says:

    One of the Army’s current one-stars (who has somehow been a one-star seemingly for eternity) was a deputy commander in Afghanistan. So not unheard of for an Army JAG to be a commander (or deputy commander) either.

  50. Sam Horn says:

    I have never seen a purple GO flag. All the Army JAG GOs use red flags. Look at any of their bio pics. It’s all red flags. 

  51. Tom Booker says:

    I am and was a judge, so I see Sam Horn’s comment as a suggestion for reconsideration.  He is substantially correct.
    Here is the language from AR 840-10:
    3–35. General Officers
    This flag is scarlet, 3-foot hoist by 4-foot fly with a horizontal line

    of white five-pointed stars, the number indicating the grade. For

    Army Medical Department general officers the flag base is maroon;

    for chaplains, purple. The fringe for all general officers individual

    flags is yellow. (See figs 3-21 through 3-24.)
    Thank you, Sam Horn, for keeping me honest.
    One addendum to my earlier post:  The fact that every Marine is a rifleman spills over into the law of armed conflict; it explains why Marines use Navy chaplains and Navy medical personnel, as it is inconsistent with those communities’ privileged status for them to carry arms (and yes, I know of the self-defense and patient-defense exceptions, but Chaplains I understand do not carry arms under any circumstances in keeping with their status).
    Respectfully, LTB