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Fewer and fewer people these days remember the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who died in 1970. For those who do, the name brings a smile. A “Rube Goldberg” contraption is a piece of machinery with many moving parts of various types, maniacally designed to accomplish some simple goal. Thanks to Congress, the key feature of military justice — the decision to prosecute — has become a Rube Goldberg machine par excellence.

Rube Goldberg and Military Justice

In United States v. Robertson the accused was charged with CP related offenses and violation of restriction.

Here is why as a trial I and my colleagues would, and you should consider–pick the serious and solid charges and leave the detritus out. When you have a solid CP case you don’t need a minor charge on the sheet–it may screw things up a bit. Fortunately no serious effect in Robertson, but there could have been.

That which is simple need not be made complex, and creative charging decisions in cases that are based upon simple facts can lead to legally insufficient convictions. This is such a case.

Sometimes appellate counsel find themselves looking at ineffective representation in advising a client to plead guilty and then the conduct of the negotiations.

Taylor v. Crowther, USDC Utah may be worth the read. (The court opinion is within the article.)

Here the issue was related to sentencing.

When two people jointly buy drugs for their individual use and then transfer the drugs between themselves, does that amount to distribution for prosecution purposes–apparently so based on a new case from ACCA.

United States v. Myers, ACCA March 2020.

This appeal raises a compelling question: whether joint purchasers and possessors of a controlled substance, who intend to share it between themselves as users, may be found guilty of wrongful distribution of a controlled substance under Article 112a, Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ].

Here’s is an essay for those interested in defining or otherwise addressing consent in military sexual assault cases.

Aya Gruber, “The Complexity of College Consent,” Adjudicating Campus Sexual Misconduct and Assault: Controversies and Challenges, ed. Claire M. Renzetti and Diane R. Follingstad. Copyright © 2020 Cognella, Inc. Uploaded to SSRN with permission.

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