Articles Posted in MJ Reform

My good friend Gene Fidell recently posted this thought:

New York County Surrogate Gideon J. Tucker wrote 150 years ago: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” Here’s a thought about Congress at work in 2016.

His note is in relation to major (and minor) suggestions for change in military justice practice.  In his blog post he observes:

Friend and colleague Cully Stimson has a piece on military justice practitioner professionalism, similar to some others he has put out recently.

He is right on.

Of course this is nothing new.  I came on active duty as a navy judge advocate in January 1908.  The topics Cully talks were a topic then and have been a frequent topic all of the years of my active duty service through today in a civilian military law practice.

Practitioners of military justice have been dealing with change over the last years due primarily to different approaches to sexual assault cases.  Friend and colleague Cully Stimson has a published piece from his and his organization’s perspective.  Take a look.

The 2015 Report of the Military Justice Review Group: Reasonable Next Steps in the Ongoing Professionalization of the Military Justice System

In United States v. Mercier, __ M.J. __, No. 20160318 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 18, 2016) the court denied a Government interlocutory appeal of a military judge’s ruling that found that a specification was improperly referred and dismissed the specification without prejudice.

This would seem to be a perfect opportunity to take up, again, two suggested improvements to military law practice.

Let’s have the President issue an Executive Order.  The Attorney General of the United States issues several manuals for U. S. Attorneys.  This is guidance from HQ intended to assure some measure of uniformity among the U. S. Attorney offices throughout the nation.  It is time to impose something akin to the U. S. Attorney’s Manual by executive order (in particular, 9-27.000 – Principles Of Federal Prosecution)?

Thus begins a review of the Military Justice Review Group (MJRG) report Part 1.  My comments will be in no particular order.

Confinement to Bread & Water

Currently, a person can be confined for up to three days on bread and water rations, under certain circumstances.  The MJRG recommends removing this as a punishment.  They do not say why, other than to suggest that: