Tool box update

I was reminded the other day when working on an appellate case of a toolbox item worth the read.

I often review TJAGSA teaching materials when working on a case.  I used to also look at NJS materials, but for some reason they are no longer available to the general public through the various Navy websites.  Even experienced practitioners should consult the TJAGSA materials for at least two reasons:  they can be a helpful start to understanding or identifying an issue, and they likely predict a prosecution response.  Both sides should review the materials, but as I caution a defense counsel they should remember it is the school solution so more likely government biased.

Anyway, we frequently face prosecutions under federal law charged as an Article 134, UCMJ, violation.

One of the first steps I take under such a circumstance is to review the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, and the USA Criminal Resource Manual.  Both documents can at times give you some handy tips on the prosecution, and by inference the defense of such charges at court-martial.  Of course reading the statute at issue helps as well.

For example recently I was reviewing the issue of a Lautenberg violation.  It seemed something was missing and a quick read of the USAM/CRM confirmed the thinking.  Of course reading the statute also helped.  The point is that not every conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence assault is qualifying under Lautenberg.  There a some steps or hoops the prosecution has to go through to make sure they can and do prove the conviction is a qualifying one, and the USAM guides them through that.

And finally, it helps to go outside the normal MJ caselaw and look at how the feds apply the statute in issue.