Friday, April 17, 2015

"Scarcely passes the laugh test"

It is rare that a United States Court of Appeals concludes that a government argument "scarcely passes the laugh test." But that is what the Third Circuit wrote (p. 19) in a recent unanimous decision rejecting an imaginative albeit desperate government theory seeking to demonstrate that a general court-martial sentence that dealt en bloc with a number of separate offenses could be subdivided into notional separate sentences, one of which would have been long enough to merit deportation of a non-citizen who was a U.S. Army veteran. Click here for Chavez-Alvarez v. Attorney General of the United States, No. 14-1630 (3d Cir., Apr. 16, 2015). Query: will the Defense Department now change the Manual for Courts-Martial to require courts-martial to allocate sentences among the various offenses of which the accused is convicted?

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