More Than 30 Years Dedicated Exclusively to Military Law | Learn More About Philip D. Cave

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.

NMCCA has an interesting case on the scope of a consent search and subsequent actions when looking for evidence on a cellphone. I think many times we have seen this issue.

The MCIO gets a “limited” or narrow consent, but then just goes ahead and looks at everything claiming “plain view” and inevitablity.

United States v. Crocker is a government appeal worth the read–NMCCA affirms suppression of much of the search and also the resultant confession.

Contact Information