CAAFlog » CAAF Grants

Yesterday CAAF granted review in an Army case:

No. 18-0091/AR. U.S. v. Andrew J. Criswell. CCA 20150530. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ABUSED HIS DISCRETION IN DENYING A DEFENSE MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE ACCUSING WITNESS’S IN-COURT IDENTIFICATION OF APPELLANT.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25

The Army CCA’s opinion is available here.

On Tuesday CAAF granted review in this Army case:

No. 17-0604/AR. U.S. v. Christopher E. Christensen. CCA 20140372. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is granted on the following issue:

WHETHER APPELLANT WAS SUBJECT TO COURT-MARTIAL JURISDICTION.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The CCA’s opinion is available here. The appellant was in civilian confinement and pending involuntary administrative separation (for alcohol abuse rehabilitation failure) when military authorities decided to retain him on active duty for a possible court-martial. But the administrative separation processing continued, he received separation orders and a DD-214, and DFAS began processing his final pay. The Army CCA, however, found that there was never a final accounting of pay made to the appellant, and so his discharge was not final:

Here, the processing of appellant’s pay stopped at a stage similar to that in Hart, and we find the reasoning of the [United States v. Hart, 66 M.J. 273, 276 (C.A.A.F. 2008)] court persuasive and controlling. The initial calculations, or snapshot, of appellant’s pay were entered into the DFAS system. Further action to calculate appellant’s final pay depended upon the removal of a code by DFAS. This never occurred since LTC AT acted to halt this calculation and, later LTC JD, as the SPCMCA, effectively ratified this action in a timely manner. Accordingly, we concur with the DuBay military judge that appellant’s “‘final pay or a substantial part of that pay’ were never computed or made ready for delivery to him” and that the Army retained jurisdiction over appellant.

Slip op. at 9.

CAAF just updated its daily journal with events from last week, including two significant developments.

First, the court rejected the certified issue in Hale as seeking an advisory opinion, and summarily affirmed the NMCCA:

No. 17-0537/MC. United States, Appellant v. James A. Hale III, Appellee. CCA 201600015. On further consideration of Appellant’s certificate for review and the briefs of the parties, it is ordered that no answer is provided to the certified issue because to do so would require issuing an advisory opinion, that the hearing notice issued by the Court on October 20, 2017, setting argument in this case for January 9, 2018, is hereby vacated, and the decision of the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.

In an opinion I discussed here, the NMCCA reversed Hale’s convictions, and authorized a rehearing, because of a conflict of interest between his lead military defense counsel (a Marine captain, identified as Capt KC), her husband (another Marine captain, who was assigned as a trial counsel but not otherwise involved in the case, identified as Capt CC), and the prosecutor (a Marine lieutenant colonel, who was the regional trial counsel and supervised the husband, identified as LtCol CT). The CCA held “that where an appellant demonstrates that his counsel labored under an actual conflict of interest, and where the conflict had an adverse effect on the counsel’s performance, the appellant is entitled to a presumption of prejudice.” United States v. Hale, 76 M.J. 713, 722 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. 2017) (emphasis added).

Second, CAAF expanded its review of whether failure to object to improper argument forfeits or waives any error. The court specified an issue in Kelly – in addition to the previously-granted issue questioning a CCA’s power to modify a mandatory minimum punitive discharge – but ordered no briefs, making the case a Marcum trailer:

No. 17-0559/AR. U.S. v. Eric F. Kelly. CCA 20150725. On further consideration of the record, it is ordered that the petition for grant of review is granted on the following additional issue specified by the Court:

IN LIGHT OF THIS COURT’S DECISIONS IN UNITED STATES V. SEWELL, 76 M.J. 14 (C.A.A.F. 2017) AND UNITED STATES V. PABELONA, 76 M.J. 9 (C.A.A.F. 2017) DID THE LOWER COURT ERR WHEN IT DETERMINED THE STANDARD OF REVIEW WAS WAIVER WHEN THERE WAS NO OBJECTION TO IMPROPER ARGUMENT?

No briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

Additionally, CAAF granted review of a similar issue in Burris:

No. 17-0605/AR. U.S. v. Erik J. Burris. CCA 20150047. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

CITING RULES FOR COURTS-MARTIAL 905(e) AND 919(c), THE ARMY COURT HELD THAT THE FAILURE OF APPELLANT’S TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL TO OBJECT TO IMPROPER CHARACTER EVIDENCE AND IMPROPER ARGUMENT WAIVED ANY ERROR. THIS COURT, HOWEVER, TREATS SUCH FAILURES AS FORFEITURE AND TESTS FOR PLAIN ERROR. WHICH COURT IS RIGHT?

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

Disclosure: I represent both Kelly and Burris in my personal capacity.

Senior Chief Barry, U.S. Navy, was convicted of one specification of sexual assault in violation of Article 120, and sentenced to confinement for three years and a dishonorable discharge. The convening authority – Rear Admiral Patrick J. Lorge (now retired) – approved the findings and sentence, the NMCCA affirmed, and CAAF summarily affirmed on April 27, 2017.

But after CAAF acted, the Admiral signed an affidavit alleging that he really wanted to disapprove the finding of guilty but the then-Judge Advocate General of the Navy and her deputy (the current JAG) persuaded him not to do so because it would be bad public relations for the Navy and hurt Lorge’s career. That allegation prompted CAAF to reverse its summary affirmation and grant review of “whether senior civilian and military leaders exerted unlawful command influence on the convening authority.” CAAF also ordered post-trial fact-finding.

That fact-finding is complete, but CAAF’s action isn’t. Yesterday the court issued the following grant order:

No. 17-0162/NA. U.S. v. Keith E. Barry. CCA 201500064. Upon reconsideration of Appellant’s petition for grant of review, we granted review of the following issue: WHETHER SENIOR CIVILIAN AND MILITARY LEADERS EXERTED UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE ON THE CONVENING AUTHORITY. We also ordered a hearing in accordance with United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967). SeeUnited States v. Barry, 76 M.J. 407 (C.A.A.F. 2017)(sum. disp.). The record of that proceeding and the findings and of fact and conclusions of law of the DuBay judge have been returned to this Court. After consideration of the record of the hearing and the findings and conclusions of the DuBay judge, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following specified issue:

WHETHER A DEPUTY JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL CAN COMMIT UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE UNDER ARTICLE 37, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. §837 (2012).

The original granted issue is also modified as follows:

WHETHER MILITARY OFFICIALS EXERTED ACTUAL UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE ON THE CONVENING AUTHORITY OR CREATED THE APPEARANCE OF DOING SO.

Appellant shall file a brief on the two granted issues on or before December 29, 2017, Appellee shall file a brief within 30 days of the date of the filing of Appellant’s brief, and Appellant may file a reply within 10 days of the date of the filing of Appellee’s brief. The parties are ordered to file a joint appendix in accordance with C.A.A.F. R. 24(f).*

* Judge Sparks is recused and did not participate.

All of our prior coverage of this case is available here.

Yesterday CAAF granted review in this Army case:

No. 17-0608/AR. U.S. v. Randy E. Jones. CCA 20150370. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issues:

I. WHETHER ADMISSION OF AN ALLEGED CO-CONSPIRATOR’S CONFESSION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT VIOLATED M.R.E. 801(d)(2)(E).

II. WHETHER ADMISSION OF THE SAME CONFESSION VIOLATED APPELLANT’S SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO CONFRONTATION.

III. WHETHER USE OF THE CONFESSION TO CORROBORATE OTHERWISE UNSUPPORTED ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN APPELLANT’S OWN CONFESSION VIOLATED M.R.E. 304(g) AND UNITED STATES v. ADAMS, 74 M.J. 137 (C.A.A.F. 2015).

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

There’s no opinion on the CCA’s website, but between the case number and the citation to Mil. R. Evid. 304(g) (restyled as Mil. R. Evid. 304(c) in 2013), the case clearly involves the old corroboration rule.

Confessions – the least reliable form of proof known to the law – were our #10 Military Justice Story of 2015, after CAAF breathed new life into the corroboration requirement with its decision in United States v. Adams, 74 M.J. 137, 140 (C.A.A.F. 2015) (CAAFlog case page). The Joint Service Committee quickly proposed changing the rule to restore the corroboration requirement to its formerly toothless status, and President Obama promulgated that change just 13 months after CAAF’s decision in Adams.

For comparison, President Obama didn’t promulgate a Part IV of the MCM addressing the 2012 changes to Article 120 until September 16, 2016 – 51 months after the statute’s effective date.

Mil. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(E) involves statements made by a “co-conspirator during and in furtherance of the conspiracy,” like discussions of the plan, pitches to recruit other conspirators, and confessions to law enforcement.

Earlier this year, in this post, I discussed the NMCCA’s opinion in United States v. Dinger, 76 M.J. 552 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 28, 2017), in which a three-judge panel of that court affirmed that military retirement isn’t really retirement, it’s merely a change in duty status, and those who retire from active duty and receive retired pay remain subject to the UCMJ.

On Monday CAAF granted review, but of a narrow issue:

No. 17-0510/MC. U.S. v. Derrick L. Dinger. CCA 201600108. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

10 U.S.C. § 6332 STATES THAT WHEN A PERSON IS PLACED IN A RETIRED STATUS, THIS “TRANSFER IS CONCLUSIVE FOR ALL PURPOSES.” CAN A COURT-MARTIAL LAWFULLY SENTENCE A RETIREE TO A PUNITIVE DISCHARGE?

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The same issue is likely raised in Hennis – which is before the court for mandatory review under Article 67(a)(1) – because Hennis was a retiree who was sentenced to death and “a sentence of death includes a dishonorable discharge or dismissal as appropriate.” R.C.M. 1004(e).

In an order issued yesterday (but not yet on the court’s website update: now on the court’s site) CAAF granted review of the following issue in the Army case of United States v. Marcum, No. 17-0491/AR (CCA’s opinion noted here):

No. 17-0491/AR. U.S. v. Nicholas S. Marcum. CCA 20150500. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

APPELLANT CLAIMED THE PROSECUTION’S ARGUMENTS ON FINDINGS AND SENTENCE WERE ERRONEOUS AND PREJUDICIAL. THE COURT BELOW APPLIED THE STANDARD OF REVIEW IN UNITED STATES v. AHERN, 76 M.J. 194 (C.A.A.F. 2017), AND DID NOT FIND PREJUDICE. DID THE COURT BELOW ERR, BECAUSE THE PROPER STANDARD OF REVIEW IS FOUND IN UNITED STATES v. SEWELL, 76 M.J. 14 (C.A.A.F. 2017) AND UNITED STATES v. PABELONA, 76 M.J. 9 (C.A.A.F. 2017)?

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

CAAF granted review in four cases yesterday, three of which were previously discussed on this blog.

The first is Barker, in which the Air Force CCA found that the military judge improperly admitted two unsworn written victim-impact statements during sentencing, but that the error was harmless. I discussed the CCA’s published decision in this post. CAAF granted review of two issues challenging the admission of a third statement and the finding of harmlessness regarding the two improperly-admitted statements:

No. 17-0551/AF. U.S. v. Thomas E. Barker. CCA 39086. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issues:

I. WHETHER THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT HELD PROPER FOUNDATION HAD BEEN LAID TO ADMIT EVIDENCE IN AGGRAVATION.

II.WHETHER THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS IMPROPERLY CONDUCTED A REVIEW OF THE PREJUDICE RESULTING FROM THE MILITARY JUDGE’S ERRONEOUS ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE IN AGGRAVATION.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The second is Hardy, in which the Air Force CCA found that a guilty plea waives any unreasonable multiplication of charges. I discussed the CCA’s published decision in this post. CAAF granted review of the CCA’s finding of waiver:

No. 17-0553/AF. U.S. v. Ryan A. Hardy. CCA 38937. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE AIR FORCE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS ERRED BY HOLDING THAT APPELLANT WAIVED, RATHER THAN FORFEITED, HIS CLAIM OF UNREASONABLE MULTIPLICATION OF CHARGES.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The third is Armstrong, which the Army CCA decided without an opinion (summarily):

No. 17-0556/AR. U.S. v. Joseph R. Armstrong. CCA 20150424. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER ASSAULT CONSUMMATED BY A BATTERY IS A LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE OF ABUSIVE SEXUAL CONTACT BY CAUSING BODILY HARM.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The fourth is Kelly, in which the Army CCA sitting en banc split 6-4 to conclude that it has no authority to set aside a mandatory minimum dismissal or dishonorable discharge for a sexual offense required by Article 56. I discussed the CCA’s opinion in this post (though I focused on a different issue). CAAF granted review of the CCA’s finding of no authority:

No. 17-0559/AR. U.S. v. Eric F. Kelly. CCA 20150725. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER A COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DISAPPROVE A MANDATORY MINIMUM PUNITIVE DISCHARGE.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

Disclosure: I represent Kelly in my personal capacity.

CAAF granted review in two cases last week.

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On Tuesday CAAF granted review in this Air Force case:

No. 17-0404/AF. U.S. v. Vashaun M. Blanks. CCA 38891. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

IN LIGHT OF THIS COURT’S DECISION IN UNITED STATES v. HAVERTY, 76 M.J. 199 (C.A.A.F. 2017), DID THE MILITARY JUDGE ERR WHEN HE INSTRUCTED THE MEMBERS APPELLANT COULD BE CONVICTED OF NEGLIGENT DERELICTION OF DUTY?

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The CCA’s opinion is available here and reveals that the appellant was “charged with willful dereliction of duty for failing to provide adequate support to his wife over a time period that spanned his assignments to both Korea and the United Kingdom, [but] the members instead found Appellant guilty of the lesser-included offense of negligent dereliction of duty.” Slip op. at 5. The CCA decided the case a month before CAAF decided Haverty.

In the Army case of United States v. Haverty, 76 M.J. 199, (C.A.A.F. Apr. 25, 2017) (CAAFlog case page), a functionally-unanimous court applied the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Elonis v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2001 (2015), to find that recklessness is the minimum mens rea (mental state) adequate to sustain a conviction of hazing in violation of Army Regulation 200-20 paragraph 4-20.

Article 92(3) addresses a person who “is derelict in the performance of his duties.” Twenty-four years ago the court held “that the military judge properly instructed the members in this case that simple negligence is the proper standard for determining whether the nonperformance of military duty is derelict within the meaning of Article 92(3).” United States v. Lawson, 36 M.J. 415, 416 (C.M.A. 1993). In reaching that decision the court considered the legislative history of the Article, concluding that:

[T]he more reasonable interpretation of this new codal provision is that Congress rejected an exclusive culpable-negligence standard and intended, instead, to punish both types [simple and culpable/gross] of negligent-duty conduct under Article 92(3).

The new legislative term “derelict” was broad enough to include both degrees of negligence and incorporate Navy practice with Army and Air Force practice. Prior to enactment of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1950, the Army and Air Force also punished neglect of duty under the general article, Article of War 96. Para. 183a, Manual for Courts-Martial, U.S. Army, 1949 at 255. The Army interpreted the word “neglect” in the general article as simply an omission of conduct. See generally Snedeker, supra at 616. This practice is also referred to in the legislative history with a comment that it was now punishable under the new Article 92(3). Accordingly, it is our conclusion, at the very least, that Congress intended to establish a simple-negligence standard for nonperformance-of-duty derelicts charged under this statute.

36 M.J. at 421. That conclusion, however, now seems to be in doubt.

CAAF granted review in two cases on Friday. The first is a Navy case:

No. 17-0480/NA. U.S. v. Raiden J. Andrews. CCA 201600208. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

THE LOWER COURT FOUND SEVERE PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT. THEN IT AFFIRMED THE FINDINGS AND SENTENCE, GIVING ITS IMPRIMATUR TO THE PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT IN APPELLANT’S CASE. DID THE LOWER COURT ERR?

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The NMCCA’s opinion is available here. The CCA found that the trial counsel committed prosecutorial misconduct in the form of improper argument by calling the appellant a liar, mischaracterizing the appellant’s statements to NCIS, asserting that the defense counsel did not believe the appellant, and misstating the law. But, applying the plain error test – because “the civilian defense counsel did not contemporaneously object,” slip op. at 7, something that the Army court recently held constitutes waiver of any error – the CCA found the improper arguments to be harmless.

The second is an Air Force case that is a Mitchell (CAAFlog case page) trailer:

No. 17-0504/AF. U.S. v. Hank W. Robinson. CCA 38942. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issues:

I. WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ABUSED HIS DISCRETION BY FAILING TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM APPELLANT’S CELL PHONE.

II. WHETHER THE AIR FORCE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING APPELLANT WAIVED OBJECTIONS REGARDING INVESTIGATORS’ EXCEEDING THE SCOPE OF APPELLANT’S CONSENT.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

I mentioned Robinson last week in this post, and I discussed the CCA’s opinion (available here) in this post.

On Wednesday CAAF granted review in this Air Force case:

No. 17-0456/AF. U.S. v. Alexander S. Wheeler. CCA 38908. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRONEOUSLY CONCLUDED CHARGE II WAS NOT PREEMPTED BY ARTICLE 120b, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 920.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The CCA issued a published decision in April that (for no good reason) I didn’t discuss on this blog. United States v. Wheeler, No. 38908, 76 M.J. 564 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. Apr. 19, 2017) (link to slip op.). The appellant was convicted of a violation of Clause 3 of Article 134 for:

attempting to knowingly persuade, induce or entice a person he believed to be a child who had not yet attained the age of 18 years to engage in sexual activity which, if undertaken, would constitute a criminal offense under Article 120b, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. § 920b, by means or facility of interstate commerce, to wit: the Internet and cellular telephone, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b).

Slip op. at 2. The CCA concluded that:

Consistent with the plain language of Article 120b, UCMJ, 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b), and the holding in Schell, we find that the Article 134 clause 3 offense Appellant was charged with is not composed of a residuum of elements of any of the other enumerated UCMJ offenses. [citations omitted -zds]. We find that the defining characteristic of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b), as it was charged in this case, is the “enticement” element. With respect to 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b), Congress intended to criminalize adult use of a means of interstate commerce to intentionally “persuade, induce, or entice” a minor into engaging in sexual activity. Schell, 72 M.J. at 343–44; see also United States v. Brooks, 60 M.J. 495, 498 (C.A.A.F. 2005); Thomas, 2013 CCA LEXIS 667, at *22 (unpub. op.). In its current form, this is a harm that the UCMJ does not specifically address. Under the circumstances, the Government was not preempted from charging Appellant, under clause 3 of Article 134, UCMJ, for attempting to “persuade, induce, or entice” a minor into engaging in sexual activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422b.

Slip op. at 10.

In United States v. Schell, 72 M.J. 339 (C.A.A.F. 2013) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF interpreted 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) and found a substantial basis in law to question the providence of a plea of guilty to violating the statute.

In the certified Army case of United States v. Mitchell, No. 17-0153/AR (CAAFlog case page), CAAF is considering the impact of investigators questioning a military suspect, after he invoked his right to remain silent and requested an attorney, in order to gain access to the suspect’s cell phone for a search. The case was argued at the Notre Dame Law School on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. It is one of just three remaining undecided cases argued during the October 2016 Term.

Back in June, in this post, I noted a pair of Air Force CCA decisions – one published and the other involving a Government appeal of a suppression ruling – that held that a “request for the passcode d[oes] not constitute interrogation in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” United States v. Robinson, 76 M.J. 663, 671, No. 38942, slip op. at 11 (A. F. Ct. Crim. App. May 15, 2017). See also United States v. Blatney, No. 2016-16, slip op. at 7 (A. F. Ct. Crim. App. May 22, 2017) (interlocutory appeal) (“In other words, whether agents or the suspect re-initiated communication only becomes relevant if the suspect ultimately communicated an incriminating statement to the agents.”).

The accused in Blatney (the interlocutory case) petitioned CAAF for review on June 14. Last Thursday CAAF granted review:

No. 17-0458/AF. U.S. v. Chad A. Blatney. CCA 2016-16. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ABUSED HER DISCRETION BY SUPPRESSING EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM APPELLANT’S CELLULAR PHONE, WHERE LAW ENFORCEMENT REQUESTED THAT APPELLANT ENTER HIS PASSWORD TWICE TO DECRYPT THE PHONE AND DISABLE SECURITY AFTER HE INVOKED HIS RIGHT TO COUNSEL.

Pursuant to Rule 19(a)(7)(A), no further pleadings will be file.

The post-trial appellant in Robinson petitioned CAAF for review on July 12, 2017. That petition is still pending.

CAAF docketed two new cases on Monday.

First, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy certified Hale, which I discussed here. The NMCCA reversed Hale’s convictions, and authorized a rehearing, because of a conflict of interest between his lead military defense counsel (a Marine captain, identified as Capt KC), her husband (another Marine captain, who was assigned as a trial counsel but not otherwise involved in the case, identified as Capt CC), and the prosecutor (a Marine lieutenant colonel, who was the regional trial counsel and supervised the husband, identified as LtCol CT). The JAG wants CAAF to review the legal test employed by the CCA:

No. 17-0537/MC. United States, Appellant v. James A. Hale, Appellee. CCA 201600015. Notice is hereby given that a certificate for review of the decision of the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals was filed under Rule 22 on this date on the following issue:

WHAT IS THE CORRECT TEST WHEN ANALYZING AN INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL CLAIM BASED UPON A CONFLICT OF INTEREST NOT INVOLVING MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION.

Appellant will file a brief under Rule 22(b) in support of said certificate on or before the 30th day of August, 2017.

The CCA held “that where an appellant demonstrates that his counsel labored under an actual conflict of interest, and where the conflict had an adverse effect on the counsel’s performance, the appellant is entitled to a presumption of prejudice.” Slip op. at 13 (emphasis added).

Second, CAAF granted review in Mangahas, which I previously discussed here. The Air Force CCA granted a Government appeal and reversed a military judge’s ruling that dismissed a charge of rape with prejudice. The dismissal was granted after the military judge found that pre-preferral delay deprived the accused of due process in violation of the Fifth Amendment. CAAF will review the CCA’s decision:

No. 17-0434/AF. U.S. v. Edzel D. Mangahas. CCA 2016-10. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals on appeal by the United States under Article 62, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 862, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING NO DUE PROCESS VIOLATION WHEN THE GOVERNMENT WAS INACTIVE FOR OVER 17 YEARS BEFORE INVESTIGATING A CLAIM OF RAPE, VIOLATING LTCOL MANGAHAS’ FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL.

Pursuant to Rule 19(a)(7)(A), no further pleadings will be filed.

Last week CAAF granted review in this Air Force case:

No. 17-0392/AF. U.S. v. Robert A. Condon. CCA 38765. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue raised by appellate defense counsel:

UPON REQUEST BY THE DEFENSE COUNSEL AND UTILIZING A DEFENSE PROPOSED INSTRUCTION, SHOULD THE MILITARY JUDGE HAVE PROVIDED THE MEMBERS WITH AN EXPLANATION OF THE TERM “INCAPABLE”?

And the following issue specified by the Court:

WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ERRED IN ADMITTING APPELLANT’S INVOCATION OF HIS RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN HIS AFOSI INTERVIEW AT TRIAL OVER DEFENSE OBJECTION, AND IF SO, WHETHER THAT ERROR WAS HARMLESS BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The CCA’s opinion is available here. The appellant raised a whopping 21 assignments of error, including 15 personally-asserted pursuant to United States v. Grostefon, 12 M.J. 431 (C.M.A. 1982), and the CCA’s opinion is a hefty 40 pages long with a six-page partial dissent. The CCA doesn’t mention the issue specified by CAAF, but it does address the granted issue explaining:

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