LTC Lakin sitrep

Humor in military lawyering is good.  Humor is good.  Standby for a comment from DMLHS tonight.

In thinking about why the case would be delayed to 3 November 2010 there were all kinds of ideas floating around, some ideas being of a conspiratorial nature.  I had missed the piece noted by Reality Check (thanks!).  Anyway, I thought the first place to go would be be docket – but first a digression on the piece of reporting Reality Check caught.

The military judge did delay the start of the trial for a month to give the defense more time to ask the court of appeals for help.  (WUSA9 — http://goo.gl/Am1Q)

Based on additional chatter out there it seems the judge was doing what’s not uncommon in military cases and giving the defense a one time pass.  (There has in fact been a lot of criticism from some over the years about paternalism toward an accused in military courts.  Some of us view this as a desire for fairness.)  My initial thought, now wrong, was that the judge would not delay the trial because of the defense’s tardy actions.  But the delay makes sense.

We are all used to asking for a delay in a case.  Rule One (of a list of Rule One’s) is to have a really good reason for delay.  The reason here (incorporating some additional chatter) does not seem compelling.  “We’ve had some attorney-client dissension in the camp doesn’t sound terribly compelling (and I paraphrase),” until you go back to the paternalism thought.  I’ve seen where a judge will give the accused a break when there’s a sense the counsel aren’t up to snuff.  In fact there is an appellate argument that you don’t make the client suffer for the sins of the lawyer.  See e.g., United States v. Ortiz, 24 M.J. 323, 324 (C.M.A. 1987) ([W]e do not wish to make [an] appellant suffer for the omissions of the lawyer.).  When you get a delay and you’ve had a less than persuasive reason for asking for delay it is not uncommon for the judge or court to admonish that you are getting a one and only.  CAAF uses the language, “and absent extraordinary circumstances, no further extension of time will be granted in this case,” (bolded and underlined in the Journal), for almost all delay grants.

So why pick 3 November 2010.  OK, here is a link to the docket.

You will see that 3 November appears to be the first open space on Judge Lind’s docket and that she wouldn’t be free until maybe December after that.  Coincidentally this will give ACCA sufficient time to deny LTC Lakin’s writ petition.  At which point I suppose the APF can direct their distrust toward the judges at ACCA and include them in the conspiracy against LTC Lakin?