There are several decisions:
United States v. Sanchez is back with the same result. There was a time when the SJAR used to be a long and complete and thorough briefing sheet to the commander acting post-trial. Because of a very very few lost cases on post-trial delay and the amount of work required the SJAR has developed into a “I read the case, approve it.” Thus the “advice” has been moved behind closed doors. Can anyone imagine that when a CO wants to talk about granting clemency on a case she doesn’t call in the SJA for advice which, without a written document, is unknown. Yes, we have gotten here because of all of the litigation over the years because of inaccurate or erroneous advice. So, rather than enforce giving “balanced” (see Sanchez), accurate, and correct advice we now have a situation where the CO gets as much unbalanced, potentially biased, and potentially wrong information as the SJA is able to give. What a cure. But the defense does have a role to play in this.
It seems to me that trial defense counsel should go back to the earlier SJAR forms and create a macro document similar to that old SJAR. A tasker for the chief defense counsels at their next annual meeting. Have the paralegal go through the ROT and other documents and basically fill in the data. The CO isn’t going to read through the ROT and the SJA can’t be relied upon to tell her the good stuff. For that matter, why not start the document prior to trial. That way you can prepare for trial better. You are already working on the I-Love-Me book, and the paralegal is often working on the index, so why not go a little further. The AF has a good start with their PDS that’s prepared for court.