This site is for the trial practitioner (the military lawyer) of military justice, and for the information of U.S. active duty, Guard, and reserve service-members, their spouses and their families. Our goal is to focus on trial practice issues in cases arising under the UCMJ and being tried at court martial. We hasten to add that nothing on this blog should be taken as specific legal advice for a specific client.

In today’s CAAF Journal we see:

No. 16-0615/AF. U.S. v. Zavian M.T. Addison. CCA S32287. 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 APPELLANT IS ENTITLED TO NEW POST-TRIAL PROCESSING BECAUSE THE ADDENDUM TO THE STAFF JUDGE ADVOCATE’S RECOMMENDATION FAILED TO CORRECT AN ERROR IN APPELLANT’S CLEMENCY SUBMISSION.

If you are being prosecuted in the Air Force.

If your military defense counsel is not raising this issue.

WHETHER THE AFCCA ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO GRANT RELIEF WHERE THE MILITARY JUDGE INSTRUCTED THE MEMBERS, “IF BASED ON YOUR CONSIDERATION OF THE EVIDENCE, YOU ARE FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OF ANY OFFENSE CHARGED, YOU MUST FIND HIM GUILTY,” WHERE SUCH AN INSTRUCTION IS IN VIOLATION OF UNITED STATES v. MARTIN LINEN SUPPLY CO., 430 U.S. 564, 572-73 (1977), AND THERE IS INCONSISTENT APPLICATION BETWEEN THE SERVICES OF THE INSTRUCTIONS RELATING TO WHEN MEMBERS MUST OR SHOULD CONVICT AN ACCUSED.

Very broad.

Or, that’s how I interpret a 2-1 Order in H.V v. Kitchen and Randolph (RPI), MISC D. No. 001-06 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. 8 July 2016).

At trial, the defense sought mental health records of the complaining witness.  After litigation on the issue, the military judge ruled

There is an excellent post at Volokh Conspiracy.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: So much at trial can turn on the testimony of a police officer. For a criminal defendant, life and liberty may depend on the ability to impeach the officer’s testimony. The federal constitution, as interpreted by Brady v. Maryland and its progeny, requires prosecutors to disclose to defendants any favorable, material evidence known to the prosecution team, including evidence relating to a witness’s credibility. Much impeachment evidence can be found in a police officer’s personnel file. But in many jurisdictions, a thicket of state laws, local policies, and bare-knuckle political pressure prevents access to the material in these personnel files, despite the federal constitutional requirement to disclose. In the name of protecting police privacy, criminal defendants are denied their due process rights to a fair trial.

Here’s what I ask for in my discovery requests.

Is it an indecent exposure offense under UCMJ art. 120, to show someone a digital picture of your own genitals?

In a published opinion in United States v. Williams, __ M.J. __, No. 20140401 (A. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 30, 3016), the Army Court of Criminal Appeals split 2-1 in deciding the case.  The court holds that the offense of indecent exposure in violation of Article 120(n) (2006) and 120c(c) (2012) does not include showing a person a photograph or digital image of one’s genitalia.

That’s the BLUF.

Do you have enough to read, well here’s more.

In sum, the Miranda decision has, at best, had little or no impact on the risks of false confession and wrongful conviction. At worst, the influence of police on Miranda procedures and subsequent litigation has actually made things worse for defendants.

Leo & Cutler, False Confessions in the Twenty-First Century.  The Champion magazine, (2016) ForthcomingUniv. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-15.

I am an unabashed advocate of DoD finding a way to have all military courts in a module in PACER, or that DoD develop something similar.

But, until that happens, military appellate court websites are a necessary tool for a military justice practitioner (TC/DC, SJA, MJ).  So I do have a sense of frustration when they are down for longer than 24 hours. Here’s my why this is frustrating.

Every morning after my first coffee and cigar I open up the website for each of the military appellate courts.  (My feedly feed brings me CAAFLog in the regular stream.)

There are a couple of interesting items in Vol. 224, MIL. L. REV.

MILITARY JUSTICE INCOMPETENCE OVER COMPETENCY DETERMINATIONS, by Major David C. Lai.  This is relevant to me because I have an appellate case where there are issues with the client’s current competency and there were at trial.

ALWAYS ON DUTY: CAN I ORDER YOU TO REPORT CRIMES OR INTERVENE? By Major Matthew E. Dyson.  This is highly relevant in regard to the ongoing sexual assault issues and considerations of by-stander behavior.