This week at SCOTUS: A new cert. petition was filed in Hutchins v. United States, No. 19-489, on Oct. 11, 2019. The petition is available here. In United States v. Hutchins, 78 M.J. 437 (C.A.A.F. May 29, 2019) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF conducted its third review of the court-martial prosecution of Sergeant Hutchins for his participation in a 2006 kidnap-murder conspiracy in Iraq that is colloquially known as the Hamdania incident, and the court unanimously affirmed convictions of conspiracy, murder, and larceny. The question presented in the cert. petition is:

Whether the right under the Double Jeopardy Clause to the issue preclusive effect of an acquittal applies where precluded and un-precluded facts are alternative grounds for essential elements of a criminal charge.

Additionally, while it’s not yet on the Court’s website, an extension of time to file a cert. petition was requested in Voorhees v. United States. In United States v. Voorhees, 79 M.J. 5 (C.A.A.F. Jun. 27, 2019) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF unanimously found that the prosecutor’s personal attacks on defense counsel, personal attacks on the accused, expressions of personal opinion, bolstering, and vouching, amounted to grievous error, but nevertheless found the error harmless.

I’m not aware of any other military justice developments at the Supreme Court, where I’m tracking six cases:

This week at CAAF: CAAF will hear oral argument in three cases this week:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

United States v. Hennis, No. 17-0263/AR (CAAFlog case page)

Issues:
I. Whether a break in Appellant’s service foreclosed the exercise of court-martial jurisdiction.

II. Whether the charges arose in the Armed Forces, and fell within the subject matter jurisdiction of a capital court-martial.

III. Whether the court-martial had personal jurisdiction over Appellant.

IV. Whether the military judge denied appellant a meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense.

V. Whether the military judge abused his discretion in restricting defense counsel’s voir dire and in denying defense challenges for cause.

Case Links:
ACCA opinion (75 M.J. 796)
Blog post: ACCA affirms death for Hennis
Blog post: Hennis docketed at CAAF
Appellant’s brief
Appellee’s (Gov’t Div.) brief
Appellant’s reply brief
Blog post: Argument preview

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

United States v. Bess, No. 19-0086/NA (CAAFlog case page)

Issues:
I. Whether the convening authority’s selection of members violated the equal protection requirements of the Fifth Amendment.

II. Whether the convening authority’s selection of members constituted unlawful command influence.

III. Whether the lower court erred in affirming the military judge’s denial of Appellant’s motion to produce evidence of the racial makeup of potential members.

Case Links:
NMCCA opinion
Blog post: CAAF grants review
Appellant’s brief
Appellee’s (Gov’t Div.) brief
Appellant’s reply brief
Amicus brief in support of Bess
Blog post: Argument preview

Followed by:

United States v. Guardado, No. 19-0139/AR (CAAFlog case page)

Issue: Whether the military judge abused his discretion by failing to grant Appellant Article 13, UCMJ, credit in consequence of the Howell v. United States, 75 M.J. 386 (C.A.A.F. 2016) violation present here.

Case Links:
ACCA opinion
Blog post: CAAF grants review
Appellant’s brief
Appellee’s (Gov’t Div.) brief
Appellant’s reply brief
Blog post: Argument preview

This week at the ACCA: The Army CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the AFCCA: The next scheduled oral argument at the Air Force CCA is on October 30, 2019.

This week at the CGCCA: The Coast Guard CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

This week at the NMCCA: The Navy-Marine Corps CCA’s website shows no scheduled oral arguments.

One Response to “This Week in Military Justice – October 20, 2019”

  1. Michael Lowrey says:

    NMCCA has uploaded the oral arguments for Nichol (argued on Oct. 3) and Ayalacruz (argued on Sept. 27) but not Kunishige (listed as to have been argued on Sept. 20). Also NMCCA has scheduled a second oral argument for Begani on Nov. 20.

Leave a Reply