Monday, September 22, 2014

Horse-trading over jurisdiction

Global Military Justice Reform continues to wonder when military personnel are tried in courts-martial for off-base offenses. It is rare that the details of negotiations between civilian and military authorities over such matters become public, but this story from The Fayetteville Observer is the exception. It turns out Ft. Bragg and local civilian authorities had made a deal as to which one would try the case, but the Army reneged when Ft. Bragg officials rotated out, and the accused is not getting his preference. Should the accused's preference for a military forum matter?

Military justice reform in Republic of Korea faces resistance

The Korea Times has this article about proposals for basic changes relating to the Republic of Korea's armed forces. On military justice, the author has this to say:
Currently, the military operates two kinds of courts -- a general military court, the court of first instance or initial trial court, and a high military court, the appeals court.
If a defendant or prosecutor lodges a second appeal following a decision by the high military court, the case then goes to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
One of the most radical arguments regarding reforming the military's judicial system is a call to remove the military courts in peace time, and operate them only in times of war.
Those who support this idea say that this measure would be a way of strengthening the independence of trials, as it is an outdated practice that only officers should control the entire trial process in the military courts -- beginning from investigation, to indictment, through to the formation of judge panels and, ultimately, the issuance of rulings. 
They claim that judges in civilian courts have sufficient professionalism to make a decision on military-related crimes and that abolishing the military courts is an international trend driven by efforts to guarantee the independence of military trials. Military courts currently don't operate in Japan, Sweden, Austria and Belgium.

Should the military have a role in civilian law enforcement?

Today's New York Times includes this story about issues surrounding cooperation between military criminal investigators and civilian law enforcement authorities. Click here for an earlier post about the recent Ninth Circuit panel decision in a case involving the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). No word yet on whether the government will seek rehearing en banc or Supreme Court review of the panel's decision.

Drill sergeant's trial begins at Ft. Leonard Wood

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports here on a court-martial, set to begin this morning, of a drill sergeant accused of 27 specifications of misconduct with female subordinates:
At least one woman said [Staff Sgt. Angel M.] Sanchez threatened that she’d be kicked out of the Army if she didn’t engage in sexual acts with him. He’s accused of improperly touching a fellow drill sergeant, as well as other women during floor counts with the “intent to gratify his own sexual desires,” records say.
He’s accused of harassing low-level soldiers, telling one: “When you get to your new unit don’t be a whore, you will be fresh meat.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why was this case tried by court-martial?

The Washington Post has this story about the case of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert D. Carlson, who is now serving an eight-year court-martial sentence for off-base misconduct. The Army assumed jurisdiction after an Alaska state grand jury refused to indict. Why was this case tried by court-martial?