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Christopher B. MuellerLaird C. Kirkpatrick and Liesa Richter (University of Colorado Law School, George Washington University – Law School and University of Oklahoma – College of Law) have posted two entries from their new book, Evidence §3.13 (6th ed. Wolters Kluwer 2018), on SSRN. The first is §3.13 ‘Presumptions’ in Criminal Cases. Here is the abstract:
This article addresses the constitutionality of “presumptions” in criminal cases. It discusses the leading case of Sandstrom v Montana and its holding that a presumption cannot be mandatory in a criminal case.
The second is §3.14 Inferences in Criminal Cases. Here is the abstract:

On occasion, a military judge will make a clemency recommendation.

In United States v. Coleman, the military judge did just that.

“that the convening authority or any other authority has the authority to dismiss Specification 2 of Charge V, I recommend that such authority dismiss Specification 2 of Charge V.”

Some years ago the AFCCA decided several cases in which it “held” that the CAAF erred in applicable decisions and effectively “overrule” the CAAF. CAAF, of course, told the AFCCA that they cannot overrule the CAAF and should follow CAAF’s decision.  Now it seems the Army Court of Criminal Appeals may be doing something similar; at least that’s the impression given from two recent grants by CAAF.

In United States v. Tovarchavev (link to ACCA) the issue granted is:

WHETHER THE ARMY COURT ERRED, FIRST, IN FINDING THAT THIS COURT OVERRULED SUB SILENCIO THE SUPREME COURT HOLDING IN CHAPMAN v. CALIFORNIA, 386 U.S. 18, 24 (1967), AND THIS COURT’S OWN HOLDINGS IN UNITED STATES v. WOLFORD, 62 M.J. 418, 420 (C.A.A.F. 2006), AND IN UNITED STATES v. HILLS, 75 M.J. 350, 357 (C.A.A.F. 2016), AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN TESTING FOR PREJUDICE IN THIS CASE USING THE STANDARD FOR NONCONSTITUTIONAL ERROR.

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Appellant personally raises three matters pursuant to United States v. Grostefon, 12 M.J. 431 (C.M.A. 1982),one of which warrants discussion and relief.

My colleagues and I often discuss the value of Grostefon.  My personal theory is to be robust in asserting Grostefon errors on behalf of the client.  This is based on my years of experience.  I have seen the appellate courts take a Grosty issue, make something of it, and grant relief.  I was reminded of the merit in putting in Grostefon issues with the recent Army Court of Criminal Appeals case, United States v. Coleman.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that any relief is meaningful, as the result in Coleman shows.

After a lengthy but successful appeal, I get this message from a client.

As of this morning I am officially off the Sex Offender registration list (which is great cause I need a job). My family and I just wanted to again send you both a big thank you for all the hard work and great advice you put in over the past few years.

In a legal earthquake for the military justice system, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada (CMAC) has split 2-1 to strike down s. 130(1)(a) of the National Defence Act (NDA) because the majority held that the provision — which deems Criminal Code offences committed in Canada by military members to be “service offences” — deprives military accused of their Charter s. 11(f) right to trial by jury.

The Sept. 19 majority decision by CMAC Justices Jocelyne Gagne and Vital Ouellette (Chief Justice Richard Bell dissented) ruled that to deprive a military accused of a trial by jury for offences punishable by more than five years in prison, and that were committed within Canada, is not justified under s. 1 of the Charter as a reasonable and demonstrably justified limit in a free and democratic society: R. v. Beaudry 2018 CMAC 4.

The Lawyers Daily (Canada).

A retired judge in Iowa recently defended himself in a hearing of a contested order by saying, “I didn’t write this thing.” A review of Judge Edward Jacobson’s rulings found that he had failed to notify the parties in 13 cases where he had signed proposed rulings written by lawyers (presumably the lawyer involved in the litigation). Judge Jacobson said he believed it was common practice to have the lawyers in the case write the orders.

I think the judge is correct – it is common practice for the court to ask one of the attorneys to write orders at various stages of any case. The difference is that this is usually common knowledge to the parties involved in the case, and opposing counsel is consulted before submission of the proposed order, or at some stage before the order becomes final. The request for the order writing is usually done in the presence of both attorneys, so all parties are fully aware of the plan. This was not done in several of Judge Jacobson’s cases.

This practice raises a question though, should this be the practice at all? Why is it that the work emerging from a judge’s chambers is primarily drafted by a lawyer involved in the litigation? Isn’t a judge who does this just shifting her workload to the lawyer who will presumably bill the client for the time spent drafting an order? Or is it proper and more expedient for the lawyers in the case to do it themselves? They are better acquainted with the intricacies of the issues that must be addressed in any order, and would be ready to critique a judge-drafted order that missed important items anyway, which would slow down the process.

We may have reached, “a fairly critical point where traditional photographic evidence just isn’t as reliable as it used to be.” This according to our most recent podcast guest, Joe Kashi. In addition to being a trial attorney in Alaska, Joe has worked in automation technology and is himself a serious photographer. Recently Joe taught a two-part webinar series, “Using and Misusing Visual Evidence, Parts 1 and 2,” moderated by ALPS Risk Manager and podcast host, Mark Bassingthwaighte. In this interview Mark and Joe delve even deeper into how technology and the accessibility of photo editing software is changing how we view photographic evidence in the courtroom.

There has been some similar thought regarding emails and texts.  There are a number of free easy apps to put on a cell phone that can allow spoofing of a email address or text.  But what about photographs, that’s the point here.  The quote comes from an interesting item:

ALPS In Brief Podcast – Episode 20: Can We Still Trust Photographic Evidence?