I am an unabashed advocate of DoD finding a way to have all military courts in a module in PACER, or that DoD develop something similar.
But, until that happens, military appellate court websites are a necessary tool for a military justice practitioner (TC/DC, SJA, MJ). So I do have a sense of frustration when they are down for longer than 24 hours. Here’s my why this is frustrating.
Every morning after my first coffee and cigar I open up the website for each of the military appellate courts. (My feedly feed brings me CAAFLog in the regular stream.)
I then start with CAAF. I check the Daily Journal and of course to see if there’s a new opinion (although I usually check for that as one of the last things I do for the day). Why?
Well I’m looking for the status of cases I have pending before the court (although unlike the Air Force and Navy) the Army and CG court will typically send me a copy of the grant or other action on my case.
Then I am looking to see what other cases have been granted and on what issue.
Then I am looking, where available, an argument calendar, again for issues.
Once I see a new case I read it (except for the summary affirmances).
All of the above may lead me to an issue in a trial case I am working on or an appellate brief I am preparing.
In the week before motions are due in a trial, I double check the CAAF New Grants and Summary Disposition page. Here I’m looking for a reminder of an issue I’m working on or could raise and preserve at the trial level. Same when I’m briefing an appellate case–I find or am reminded of issues. That happened to me after the recent CAAF outage. Once the site came back up I found a grant in McClour, on an issue that seemed to have been fairly well decided for some time. Bingo, I put that in a brief filed yesterday. CAAF may well affirm the prior rule on instructions, but if they are apt to change (as we’ve seen on a number of issues lately) the issue is preserved and the client may get the benefit of any ruling in favor of a reversal in McClour.