And again

NMCCA has an unpublished opinion in United States v. Allen.

“We have written often to urge convening authorities and their staff judge advocates [SJAs] to pay scrupulous attention to detail throughout the post trial process. This case compels us to reiterate that urging yet again.” [1] Unfortunately, this is not a new problem in the military justice system. Citing 35 cases with erroneous Staff Judge Advocate Recommendations [SJARs] in a 15-month period, our sister court stated in United States v. Lindsey, almost 20 years ago:

This case presents the court with yet another incident in which an SJA has failed to provide complete and accurate information to the convening authority, as required by RCM 1106. The regularity of these post-trial processing errors is alarming and occurs in many jurisdictions. Most SJAR errors are the direct result of sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail. . . . Likewise, diligent trial defense counsel should identify and correct such errors whenever possible. These errors reflect poorly on our military justice system and on those individuals who implement that system. They should not occur!

56 M.J. 850, 851 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 2002).

— [1] United States v. Allison, No. 201800251, 2020 CCA LEXIS 111, at *3-4 (N-M Ct. Crim. App. Apr. 8, 2020) (unpub. op.) (also reminding practitioners that “[a]ppellate courts are not in the business of drafting post-trial documents for convening authorities.”); see also United States v. Stromer, No. 201800320, 2020 CCA LEXIS
183, at *2 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. May 29, 2020) (unpub. op.) (“Once again this Court is forced to address repeated errors in post-trial processing, due to a lack of attention, care, and accountability, and a failure to read and follow post-trial processing rules and court orders.”); United States v. Stromer, No. 201800320, 2019 CCA LEXIS 134, at *5-6 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 26, 2019) (unpub. op.) (discussing “yet another striking example of excessive reliance on templates, a lack of appreciation of the importance of post-trial process in the military justice system, and a failure to pay attention to detail”); United States v. Gary, No. 201800353, 2020 CCA LEXIS 172, *7-8 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. May 27, 2020) (unpub. op.); United States v. Franco, No. 202000042, 2020 CCA LEXIS 176, *4 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. May 27, 2020) (unpub. op.) (“We caution staff judge advocates and convening authorities that this error is one that was easily avoidable. Just follow the rules, review the request and, if applicable, articulate the basis for denial.”).

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