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.

There was a time when the military allowed people to learn from their mistakes.  There were times that people were allowed to get away with “murder” under that philosophy.  So times changed, largely as a result of the “zero tolerance” of drug abuse.  So, more and more we have, it can be argued, reached a point of intolerance for error and no longer allowing people to benefit and learn from mistakes.

In this context, the comment on an USMA investigation is interesting.

USMA stands behind Cadet x, as it stands behind our young men and women who choose to become part of it at great personal expense in order to emerge on the other end as leaders of character,” the academy statement said. “These are leaders who are not immune from mistakes or their consequences but who are uniquely equipped to learn and grow from them.”

United States v. Hennis.

Appellant’s case is before this Court for mandatory review under Article 67(a)(1), Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U.S.C. § 867(a)(1) (2012). Appellant has filed a consolidated motion requesting, in relevant part, appointment of appellate defense team members pursuant to the Army’s capital litigation regulation, as well as funding for learned counsel, a mitigation specialist, and a fact investigator.  We conclude that this Court does not have the constitutional, statutory, or regulatory authority to provide Appellant with the relief he seeks. Accordingly, we deny Appellant’s motion.

Why Military Courts Won’t Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting, in Stars & Stripes, repeated in Task & Purpose.

Former airman Devin P. Kelley had choked his wife and put a gun to her head. He’d fractured her baby’s skull. He’d made threats to his commanders and he’d been committed to a mental hospital. Those acts foretold Kelley as a potential killer, experts say, and make the Air Force’s failure to enter his name into an FBI database especially egregious.

For those looking for the future of changes to the UCMJ and the MCM, there are a number of seeds in this article.

Today, SCOTUSBlog tells about some grants and denials.  One may be of interest to military justice practitioners.

they denied review in an Alabama death-penalty case, over a lengthy dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. . . . That order drew a sharp 14-page dissent[.]

Here is a link to the order.

It is always good to file or submit petitions and pleadings on time.  Sometimes the due date can be complicated.

Let’s say your due date falls on a Sunday?  A federal holiday?  Or???  Here is a thought from friend and colleague Dew Process.

CAAF, in its decision in United States v. Rodriguez, 67 M.J. 110 (CAAF), cert. denied 558 U.S. 969 (2009).  The majority in Rodriguez held that the 60 day time-limit in Article 67(b), UCMJ, was jurisdictional and rejected the long-standing precedent of this Court essentially adopting the “equitable tolling” principle. The Rodriguez majority based its decision on Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205 (2007), a federal civil appeal in a habeas corpus action.

From CAAF Daily Journal of 2 November.

No. 17-0507/AR. U.S. v. Orval W. Gould, Jr. CCA 20120727. On further consideration of Appellant’s certificate for review and the briefs of the parties, it is ordered that the first and second certified issues are answered in the negative, and therefore, no answer is provided to the third certified issue because to do so would require issuing an advisory opinion. The decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.

Here is the ACCA opinion in Gould.  The case has a long and convoluted history.

Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review about the recent NY terror case and President Trump’s off-the-cuff comments.  In a well-reasoned piece, he makes the following point.

Yet, just as law-enforcement officials must respect the policy judgments of their political superiors, the political authority must respect the need for independent administration of justice in individual cases. The president undoubtedly has the power to interfere in criminal cases that are brought under his authority. He abuses that power, though, when he fails to affirm the rule of law and the public integrity of the judicial process.

The thought is equally applicable to other politicians and government leaders, and here I’m thinking of the connection to comments about military sexual assault issues and cases.  Of course, the legislature has a duty to protect society, identify what should be considered criminal conduct, and set out a process for holding criminals accountable to society.  But in the process, their oath of office requires them to “affirm the rule of law and the public integrity of the judicial process.”  When people decide that the law or its application is unfair (rightly or wrongly) disrespect for the law follows.

The USS Cole case judge Wednesday found the Marine general in charge of war court defense teams guilty of contempt for refusing to follow his orders and sentenced him to 21 days confinement and to pay a $1,000 fine.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath also declared “null and void” a decision by Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, 50, to release three civilian defense attorneys from the case, and ordered them to appear before him in person here at Guantánamo or by video feed next week.

At issue was Baker’s authority to excuse civilian, Pentagon-paid attorneys Rick Kammen, Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears from the case of because of a secret ethics conflict involving attorney-client privilege. Also, the general refused a day earlier to either testify in front of Spath, or return the three lawyers to the case.