Articles Posted in Worth the Read

Chief Judge Erdmann is scheduled to leave the court in July 2017.

At that point, the next judge in line will fleet up to be chief judge.  Interestingly Judges Stucky and Ryan took the oath on the same day for the same term.  However, I’m reliably advised that by statute Judge Stucky will become chief judge.

It appears DoD has sent out a letter to various bar associations soliciting nominations, to be submitted by the end of March.

The SCOTUS might soon give us an idea on the subject of jury nullification in Lee v. United States.

Issue: Whether it is always irrational for a noncitizen defendant with longtime legal resident status and extended familial and business ties to the United States to reject a plea offer notwithstanding strong evidence of guilt when the plea would result in mandatory and permanent deportation.

It is not obvious from the Issue that nullification is central to the case.  But, Ilya Shapiro, The Right to Hope for Jury Nullification, CATO Institute, 9 February 2017, explains.

The New York Times reports:

President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

O’Keeffe, Eamonn (2016) ““Such Want of Gentlemanly Conduct:” The General Court Martial of Lieutenant John de Hertel,” Canadian Military History: Vol. 25: Iss. 2, Article 2. <Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol25/iss2/2>

At this court-martial of a junior officer, the British Army assembled 15 more senior officers to serve as the “jury” in the case.  Today people whing about getting at least five officers in the same place.

 

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals has raised an interesting question and important reminder in United States v. Keen, decided 20 October 2016.  The court itself specified the following issue.

WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ACTED AS COUNSEL OR LEGAL OFFICER AS TO ANY OFFENSE CHARGED OR IN APPELLANT’S CASE GENERALLY OR FORWARDED CHARGES IN APPELLANT’S CASE WITH A PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION AS TO DISPOSITION WHEN HE WAS CHIEF OF MILITARY JUSTICE AT III CORPS?

The facts supporting this issue were:

Sara Koenig, Was Anyone Killed Looking for Bowe Bergdahl? Some Hard Evidence at Long Last, 6 October 2016.

After nearly a year of waiting, [Serial has] finally received the Army’s internal investigations into the 2009 deaths of six soldiers from Bowe Bergdahl’s unit: MW, CB, KC, MM, DA and MM.

None of these investigations report that any of these men was on a mission to look for Bergdahl. Neither Bergdahl’s name, nor the term DUSTWUN (shorthand for a missing soldier), appears in any of the documents.

This article showed that the vast majority of court-martial sentences are affirmed by AFCCA. On the rare occasion when sentence relief was granted, it was usually not based on factual sufficiency or sentence appropriateness. While there has been some fluctuation in how often AFCCA grants sentence relief, it is minimal and to some extent explained by the influence CAAF has on it.

That’s the conclusion of Maj. Kevin Gotfredson and Capt. Micah Smith in their article, Sentence Relief: At the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals During the Last 10 Years.  43(3) THE REPORTER 21 (2016).  Their research was motivated by public discussion of an “epidemic” number of valid convictions being reversed because of “factual sufficiency.”

See more discussion at my website here.

 

so starts a post at wrongfulconvictionsblog–Junk Science Reigns ____ So Much for True Science in the Courtroom.

[W]hen the National Academy of Sciences report Forensic Science in the United States; A Path Forward was published

people thought we might see a true effort to address “junk science being used to convict innocent people.”