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The Army CCA’s website is now accessible from the public internet.

The websites for CAAF and the Air Force CCA (that are hosted on the same server) are currently down.

Update (May 4, 2018): Access restored.

A few weeks ago – in this post – I noted that the websites for CAAF and the Air Force CCA (both hosted on the same server) were inaccessible from the public internet.The sites were replaced with an Application Blocked message.

The outage didn’t last long, and presumably some mid-level idiot was reprimanded.

Firing would have been a better idea.

Right now, if you try to access the AFCCA or CAAF websites from the public internet, you get only this:

It’s cool though. Members of the public aren’t interested in the decisions of a federal court subordinate only to SCOTUS.

Right now, visitors to the Air Force CCA’s website see only this:

Must be a coincidence that has nothing to do with this morning’s discussion of Vargas. Other jokes write themselves.

Update: CAAF’s website (hosted on the same server) is also inaccessible, with the same application blocked message.

Update 2: Access was restored sometime early Monday evening.

The Army CCA’s website is also still inaccessible (discussed here).

Last night our email subscribers received a notification about a post from eight years ago. That was my fault. Sorry.

Outside of the occasional mistake, the email subscription feature is great. Subscribers get an email every time a new post is published. The email includes the title of the post, all content before the jump, and a link back to the blog.

You can subscribe by submitting your email address in the box on the right sidebar. If you don’t receive a confirmation email, you can check the status of your subscription here.

Army JAG sites still inaccessible from the public internet (discussed here).

This post from early-2016 discussed how the Army CCA’s website and the Army JAG Corps Network website were inaccessible from the public internet (but accessible within the .mil domain) due to Army network security issues. The inaccessibility persisted until May, and the issue got an honorable mention in the Top Ten Military Justice Stories of 2016.

The problem is back.

These Army sites are currently inaccessible from the public internet, but are accessible from within the .mil domain. Because reasons.

The Air Force CCA, Coast Guard CCA, Navy-Marine Corps CCA, CAAF, SCOTUS, and Russian Supreme Court websites all work fine.

Job posting available here. Position is a GS 12. Looks perfect for a transitioning legal community SNCO. Application deadline is Friday.

CAAFlog is now accessible over a secure connection at: https://www.caaflog.com

I need your help to test the certificate. Please access the site via HTTPS and let me know (by email to Zack@CAAFlog.com) if you get any sort of warning or error message. Thanks in advance.

This feature is due to Google’s plan to mark regular HTTP connections as insecure.

I’ve just moved CAAFlog to a new server (again) to resolve DoD network access issues. We’re now hosted on Amazon AWS. The move is complete and should be transparent to you (this post was written on the new server).

Those who were unable to access the site from DoD computers since our last move should see access restored within a few hours. Thank you to our readers who helped me identify the problem.

As always, please contact me (Zack@CAAFlog.com) if you can’t access CAAFlog.

We had some server issues this morning, but the problem should now be resolved. The fix, however, may take up to a day to propagate for some users (I’ve switched to our backup web server).

CAAF’s website has the following announcement:

The Court is pleased to announce that Mr. Joseph R. Perlak has been selected as the next Clerk of the Court, effective May 1, 2017.

Mr. Perlak is a retired Marine Corps Colonel whose service includes tours as the Chief Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps and as the Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. A short (but out-of-date) bio is available on the CMCR’s website (where he also served), here.

Congratulations to Mr. Perlak!

Users may have noticed a site outage this morning. The cause was a faulty piece of hardware (a switch). It’s been repaired.

Update: The links are fixed.

The Coast Guard redesigned its website and, in the process, broke our links to the Coast Guard CCA’s website.

The new Coast Guard website is awful, emphasizing pictures and graphics over substance, and I can’t find any working links to the Coast Guard legal community’s pages.

If any reader has a working link to the Coast Guard CCA’s website, please post it in the comments or send me email at zack@caaflog.com

Thanks.

In this post I noted the publication of proposed changes to the MCM for 2017. Last week I submitted a public comment regarding those proposed changes. It’s not available on the docket website (yet), so you can read it here.

My comment addresses only one of the proposed changes: the proposal to rewrite R.C.M. 1103A (direct link) to limit appellate defense counsel review of sealed materials attached to the record of trial but not disclosed to the trial participants. This was an idea advanced last year by the Air Force Appellate Government Division (discussed here and here). The proposed change seems to be a direct response to the refusals of the AFCCA and CAAF to judicially rewrite the rule in order to limit such review. In my public comment I assert that:

There is no rational justification to allow appellate military judges to review the complete record of trial but not afford a similar right to appellate counsel (who may – and often do – outrank the judges themselves). Furthermore, protective orders issued by a court of criminal appeals or by CAAF are more than adequate to protect the privacy interests of victims, witnesses, and others whose private affairs may become part of a record of trial by court-martial.

R.C.M. 1103A was established in 2005 and reflects the considered judgment of the President informed by the decisions of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) in United States v. Romano, 46 M.J. 269 (C.A.A.F. 1997), and United States v. Rivers, 49 M.J. 434 (C.A.A.F. 1998). There are no new circumstances that warrant upsetting this settled, functional, and practical rule. The proposed amendment should be rejected.

My comment also suggests a number of additional changes to the MCM. I want to highlight one of these in particular: that the Rules for Courts-Martial explicitly state that Government counsel represent either the prosecution or the appellate government division, but not the Government at large.

Part II of the MCM repeatedly references the prosecution as a party to a court-martial, and so trial counsel should refer to themselves as the prosecution (and not as the Government or the United States). Furthermore, the arguments advanced by attorneys assigned to the various appellate government divisions are not coordinated among the divisions or with any central authority (like the Attorney General), and so the divisions should avoid the exaggerated claim that they speak for the entire Government. CAAF’s Rule 26(a) (and the AFCCA’s Rule 15.3(a)) actually allows each of the appellate government divisions to file amicus curiae briefs without invitation, emphasizing the independence of each division. If, however, each appellate government division represents the entire Government, then the rule would allow the Government to file an amicus curiae brief in support of itself.

This isn’t intended as an attack on the counsel who prosecute courts-martial and court-martial appeals. They’re professionals who represent a side in our adversarial system. But it’s at least incredibly awkward when individual prosecutors or an individual appellate government division personifies the United States. It’s also an uncomfortable characterization in a trial by court-martial where all of the participants are agents of the Executive Branch (and it could have an undue influence on the process). I realize that Article 38(a) states that trial counsel “shall prosecute in the name of the United States,” that Article 70(b) states that appellate government counsel “shall represent the United States,” and that courts-martial are captioned United States v. [Accused]. Nevertheless, I believe that use of the prosecution and the appellate government division makes an important semantic distinction.

I have already made this change in my writing on this blog, generally referring to trial counsel as members of the prosecution and to appellate government briefs as the product of the division involved.