Articles Posted in Uncategorized

The military already has rules and regulations about membership in certain hate groups.  The tragic events at Charlottesville are likely to garner more attention to the issue of military personnel and hate groups.

From Task & Purpose.

James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old Army basic training wash-out accused of running down counter-protesters demonstrating against hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, may not have been the only U.S. military veteran marching under the banner of white nationalism this weekend, Splinter reports.

There is increasing attention to the possibility that DNA “evidence” at the scene of an alleged crime is just too good and may implicate the innocent.

Touch-trace DNA is the issue.

Here is an interesting discussion that may help form an argument to exclude DNA evidence or address it with the fact-finder at trial.

A major piece in the New York Times magazine by Emily Bazelon dissects the conviction of Noura Jackson for the murder of her mother.

The accused’s DNA was excluded as a match for any of the three DNA profiles found at the scene and there was no physical evidence linking the accused to the killing.

The accused was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide

Attorney General Mark R. Herring has created the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide, a new tool to help Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans understand the unique legal protections, rights, and resources available to them under the law. Volunteer attorneys from the Office of Attorney General spent more than a year developing the new guide, which will be distributed in hard copy and electronically in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, veterans’ service organizations, and more.


Military veterans keep secrets from the battlefield. But retired Marine Richard Cachola’s refusal to reveal details of a traumatic experience he had while serving in Iraq — and the mental health treatment he received as a result — put him at risk of losing custody of his children.

“My PTSD has no relationship to my ability to be a father,” Cachola said, after declining to provide court-ordered mental health records of his PTSD history in family court.

Cachola’s case reflects why child-custody disputes can be complicated, especially if one spouse has been diagnosed with a mental illness resulting from war. Family court judges must balance a parent’s right to privacy with the best interest of the children involved.

By order of the Chief Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will be closed all day on Monday, July 3, 2017.  For purposes of computation of time and motions to enlarge time under the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, July 3, 2017, will be considered a day when the Court is officially closed.  While not a preferred status, you have an extra day if butting up against the due date.

In 2002, Lester Packingham became a convicted sex offender at the age of 21, after he pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child – having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Packingham got into hot water with the law again in 2010, when he posted on Facebook to thank God for having a traffic ticket dismissed. After a police officer saw his post, Packingham was prosecuted and convicted under a North Carolina law that makes it a felony for a convicted sex offender to use social-networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, that allow minors to create accounts. Today Packingham has something else to be grateful for, and he can take to social media to express that appreciation because the Supreme Court agreed with him that the North Carolina law violates the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

So writes Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog, about Packingham v. North Carolina.

I have discussed before how very difficult it is for an appellant to get a federal court to review and overturn a court-martial conviction.

Here is Randolph v. United States, a federal circuit case reviewing an attempt to get relief via the Court of Federal Claims.

The United States Department of the Navy (Navy) dishonorably discharged Jerome Randolph, the pro se appellant, after a court-martial convicted him for sexual assault and falsifying a statement about that assault. After this discharge, Mr. Randolph repeatedly sought expungement of his court-martial conviction, as well as an award of back pay and an upgraded discharge status, before the Board for Correction of Naval Records (Board). The Board denied him any relief. He ultimately filed suit against the United States (government) in the United States Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court) seeking the same relief he sought from the Board, as well as claiming relief from defamation. The Claims Court concluded that, in light of his court-martial conviction, the Board reasonably refused to award him back pay and upgrade his discharge status. The Claims Court also held that it had no jurisdiction to expunge his court-martial conviction or to proceed with his defamation claim. Even after we broadly construe Mr. Randolph’s arguments on appeal, we affirm.