Articles Tagged with privilege

From my very first opinion on this Court, I have consistently concluded that Mil.R.Evid. 410 must be applied broadly to be consistent with its purpose. United States v. Barunas, 23 M.J. 71, 75-76 (CMA 1986). See also Fed.R.Evid. 410. Speaking for the Court in Barunas, I said:

The general purpose of Mil.R.Evid. 410 and its federal civilian counterpart, Fed.R.Evid. 410, is to encourage the flow of information during the plea-bargaining process and the resolution of criminal charges without "full-scale" trials. See United States v. Grant, 622 F.2d [308,] at 313 [(8th Cir. Ark. 1980)]; see generally Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257, 260-61, 92 S. Ct. 495, 497-98, 30 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1971). An excessively formalistic or technical approach to this rule may undermine these policy concerns in the long run. United States v. Herman, 544 F.2d [791,] at 797 [(5th Cir. Fla. 1977)].See generally Wright and Graham, Federal Practice and Procedure: Evidence § 5345 (1980). A failure to recognize and enforce the military expansion of this rule may have the same effect.  23 M.J. at 76.

United States v. Anderson, 55 M.J. 182 (C.A.A.F. 2001)(Sullivan, J., concurring).

I think it fair to consider Mil. R. Evid. 410 a form of privilege although not found in the 500 series of rules. notes an interesting case about application of Fed. R. Evid. 410.  In reading the case it appears the federal courts may take a more restrictive view of the rule compared to application of Mil. R. Evid. 410.

Federal Evidence Review notes the following:

In conspiracy to distribute controlled substances prosecution, physician-defendant could not assert that the medical records of his patients were subject to a doctor-patient privilege because the federal courts do not recognize this privilege under FRE 501, in United States v. Bek, 493 F.3d 790 (7th Cir. July 6, 2007) (No. 05-4198)

It is easy to overlook that the a physician-patient confidential communications privilege is not recognized in the trial of federal question matters. As adopted by Congress, the Federal Rules of Evidence fail to explicitly allow for this privilege.

Belton, Texas, solo John Galligan, who represents Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, says he has added a close relative of Hasan’s from out of state to the defense team as of Tuesday. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who allegedly went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, is facing a possible court martial.

Galligan says he added the relative to make it possible for that relative to visit with Hasan for more than a few hours a week and to do so without being observed and possibly videotaped by Army investigators. Galligan declines to identify the relative. reports.

FederalEvidence blog has this update on the status of a reporter privilege.  As commented earlier, under Mil.R. Evid. 1103, any new evidence rule will become applicable to court-martial cases.

After many weeks of being listed on the Senate Judiciary Committee business calendar, on December 10, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a vote of 14 to 5 an amended version of S. 448, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2009.

The Federal Evidence Review will continue to monitor action on the House and Senate measures. For more information concerning the legislation, see Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 Legislative History Page.

For some years now, primarily relating to Iraq/Afghanistan cases there has been lots of litigation by media and congress.  The current move to save the SEALs by congress is just the most recent example of seeking to influence a court-martial case.  The “litigation” has been both for and against the military member.  We all remember the issue of Congressman Murtha calling for prosecution of a Marine for alleged misconduct.  Whether such litigation is good for the system and the UCMJ is a different question.  In this day and age of millisecond journalism and sound-bites here are a couple of thoughts and a caution.  LawProf blog has posted:

Laurie L. Levenson (Loyola Law School Los Angeles) has posted Prosecutorial Soundbites: When Do They Cross the Line? (Georgia Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Even good prosecutors can cross the line with media soundbites. Especially in high-profile cases, prosecutors must assess if their pretrial remarks about a case meet their ethical obligations. In Gentile v. Nevada State Bar, 501 U.S. 1030 (1991), the United States Supreme Court held that while lawyers have the First Amendment right to make comments to the press, they do not have the right to make comments that have a “substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding.” Although ethical codes have adopted this broad standard, many have failed to identify more specifically when a prosecutor’s remarks pose a substantial likelihood of having such a prejudicial effect. Using 28 C.F.R. § 50.2 as a guide, this article seeks to identify those “hot-button” areas.

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