Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lt Col Butch Bracknell on transparency -- part 1

Lt Col Robert Bracknell, USMC (left)
Jurist has a smart essay by Lieut. Col. Robert Bracknell, USMC, a member of the Defense Council for the Truman National Security Project and Assistant Legal Advisor to the NATO Headquarters for Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. The topic: increasing transparency in the United States military justice system. This is part 1 of a two-part series. A foretaste:
Disappointingly, two simple reforms that could transform the landscape of military justice have been wholly overlooked. This is the first of a two-part series addressing each of these issues, advocating modest, affordable, easy to implement reforms that would improve transparency and public accountability for the military justice process. First, Congress must amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to mandate real-time, open access to paper and electronic court-martial records. The legislation should direct open access through PACER or some other electronic online system on the same basis and availability as the records of Article III courts—without a requirement to wield the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to gain access to military judicial records. Second, Congress should mandate unrestricted access to records of attorney and judicial misconduct on the same basis as the professional standard set by most state bars and judicial codes of conduct.

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