In the Air Force case of United States v. Dalmazzi, No. 16-0651/AF (CAAFlog case page), CAAF is considering whether a judge of the United States Court of Military Commission Review (appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) may also serve as an appellate military judge on a court of criminal appeals. CAAF granted review of two issues in Dalmazzi:
I. Whether United States Court of Military Commission Review Judge, Martin T. Mitchell, is statutorily authorized to sit as one of the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals judges on the panel that decided Appellant’s case.
II. Whether Judge Martin T. Mitchell’s service on both the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Court of Military Commission Review violates the Appointments Clause given his status as a superior officer on the United States Court of Military Commission Review.
CAAF also granted review of Dalmazzi-type issues in 44 trailer cases. Additionally, CAAF accepted an amicus brief from the Military Commissions Defense Organization and granted the organization 10 minutes of oral argument time (discussed here).
But last week CAAF rescinded that grant of argument time to amicus because it found an issue that has the potential to render the claim in Dalmazzi moot:
No. 16-0651/AF. U.S. v. Nicole A. Dalmazzi. CCA 38808. On further consideration of the record of trial, as supplemented following the order of the Court dated October 28, 2016, it is ordered that the parties brief the following specified issue:
WHETHER THE ISSUES GRANTED FOR REVIEW ARE MOOT WHERE THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT: MARTIN T. MITCHELL TOOK AN OATH PURPORTING TO INSTALL HIM AS A JUDGE OF THE U.S. COURT OF MILITARY COMMISSION REVIEW (CMCR) ON MAY 2, 2016; THE AIR FORCE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS (AFCCA) ISSUED AN OPINION IN THE UNDERLYING CASE WITH JUDGE MITCHELL PARTICIPATING IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN AFCCA JUDGE ON MAY 12, 2016; AND THE PRESIDENT DID NOT APPOINT MITCHELL TO THE CMCR UNTIL MAY 25, 2016.
The parties will brief this issue contemporaneously, and file their briefs on or before December 1, 2016. It is further ordered that the Court will hear oral argument only on the specified issue at the hearing scheduled for December 7, 2016, and that the order allotting amicus curiae 10 minutes to present oral argument is hereby rescinded.
While this new discovery may resolve the issue in Dalmazzi, the trailer cases (which involve other judges and later decisions) will remain.