CAAF’s daily journal for 10 June 2010 indicates that CAAF has allowed NIMJ to file a brief on behalf of appellant (I abstained from participation in producing said brief), and allowed NACDL to file an amicus pleading but denied NACDL leave to file an “oversized brief.”
No. 10-0337/AR. U.S. v. David ANTAR. CCA 20080836. Review granted on the following issue:
WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ERRED BY ACCEPTING APPELLANT’S PLEA OF GUILTY AND NOT REOPENING THE PROVIDENCE INQUIRY WITHOUT QUESTIONING BOTH APPELLANT AND HIS TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL REGARDING APPELLANT’S BIPOLAR DISORDER, HIS EXTENSIVE HISTORY OF PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS, AND POSSIBLE MENTAL RESPONSIBILITY DEFENSE.
The decision of the Army Court of Criminal Appeals is set aside. The record of trial is returned to the Judge Advocate General of the Army for remand to that court for reconsideration of the aforementioned issue in light of United States v. Harris, 61 M.J. 391 (C.A.A.F. 2005).[See also ORDERS GRANTING PETITION FOR REVIEW this date.]
In United States v. Rodriguez, 67 M.J. 156 (C.A.A.F. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 459 (2009) the court changed years of practice when it came to late filings of petitions for review with CAAF. In Rodriguez the court held that:
In light of Bowles v. Russell, 127 S. Ct. 2360 (2007), we conclude that the congressionally-created statutory period within which an accused may file a petition for grant of review is jurisdictional [and may not be waived or extended regardless of cause].
The effect was to deny an opportunity for an appellatant to petition on meritorious issues or have access to the United States Supreme Court. Prior to Rodriguez it was not uncommon for appellate counsel and appellants to miss the CAAF petition filing deadline, sometimes by just a few days. The reasons for the missed filing generally came down to administrative error within the appellate defense divisions. For various reasons filing deadlines weren’t being tracked accurately. It’s my understanding that the divisions have taken measures to correct the problems. However, there were a series of cases post Rodriguez where the appellant was denied access to CAAF based on Rodriguez. While unfortunate, for those that had no seemingly meritorious issues to petition on there was likely no prejudice. But what about those cases where the appellant had a good issue (regardless of whether or not it was a winner)?
Here’s an interesting grant and remand from CAAF.
No. 10-0265/AF. U.S. v. Douglas E. LONG. CCA 37044 (2009 CCA LEXIS 477).
WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS BECAUSE ASSURANCES OF AIR FORCE OFFICIALS PROVIDED HIM WITH DE FACTO IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION.
Here are some CAAF grants/issues that should resonate in the field.
No. 10-0332/AF. U.S. v. Yolanda FLORES. CCA S31621. Review granted on the following issue:
WHETHER TRIAL COUNSEL IMPROPERLY COMMENTED ON APPELLANT’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT THUS DEPRIVING APPELLANT OF A FAIR TRIAL.
In United States v. Serianne, the CAAF affirmed an NMCCA decision that a Navy order to report civilian DWI/DUI convictions was unlawful and not enforceable at court-martial.
Navy Times reports:
The Navy’s self-reporting requirement for drunken driving arrests will fundamentally change as a result of a recent military court ruling, the Navy’s top lawyer said.
United States v. Roach has been returned to AFCCA for a second time.
Initially the case was sent back because appellant’s case was decided before his counsel submitted a brief, and because the chief judge on his panel had made some public comments relating to the case.
This time the case goes back because the chief judge also recommended his temporary successor for the Roach case, thus violating the principal that a recused judge should have no further contact with the case.
CAAF has decided United States v. Bagstad. Judge Stuckey wrote for himself, Effron and Ryan, with Baker writing a dissent for himself and Erdmann.
We granted review to determine whether the military judge abused his discretion in denying Appellant’s challenge for cause against Captain (Capt) Stojka, who sat with his subordinate on a court-martial panel composed of three members. We hold that the military judge did not err in denying the challenge for cause.
First the opinion reviews the general for challenges. The court then got into the meat of the issue.
United States v. Matthews is an interesting new Army decision.
In this case the appellate courts ordered a DuBay hearing. During that hearing the prior military judge testified as to his rationale for various decisions at trial. Using that testimony, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals applied the harmless beyond reasonable doubt standard to findings of constitutional error. On appeal, CAAF ordered a new review by ACCA specifically excluding the testimony of the judge at the DuBay hearing.
On 23 July 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces set aside that decision, and remanded to this court for further review. United States v. Matthews, 67 M.J. 29, 43 (C.A.A.F. 2009). Specifically, our superior court held that it was error to consider the testimony of the original trial judge elicited during the DuBay hearing because it violated the protected deliberative processes of military judges sitting alone. Id. This court was instructed to reconsider our conclusion on harmless error without that improper testimony. Id.
The CGCCA has issued a 2-1 opinion in United States v. Lucas, and it is likely a case to watch with CAAF.
The CGCCA has been the most vigilant of the services in protecting an accused’s post-trial rights, so the decision in this case seems odd. There is no evidence that any of the proper procedures were followed in this case except for allowing the defense counsel to review the ROT.
Also, there is no clemency materials submitted by either the defense counsel or accused. Did the defense counsel contact the appellant? Did the appellant have anything to submit?