Monday, March 28, 2016

Stars and Stripes on proposed UCMJ changes

Stars and Stripes has this account by Nancy Montgomery of the administration's proposed military justice bill. Excerpt concerning transparency:
All convicted servicemembers also would have the right to appeal, under the changes, and military court documents such as judicial rulings — now accessible to the public only through Freedom of Information Act requests — would be filed in a public system as they are in federal courts. 
“In Federal Court, anybody may look up a case and view pleadings in current cases. The military trial courts should have a similar system where the public could view motions,” said Kyle Fischer, a former Army lawyer now in private practice. 
Fischer said the move would benefit not just the public but also people he says are falsely accused. 
“Nobody knows about those frivolous cases except for the client, the panel, the attorneys in the case, and the military judge,” he said. “If we are going to raise awareness of problem of the falsely accused being tried on frivolous charges, then allowing the press access to these proceedings should be a concern.”
The article identifies a number of other major changes the proposal would make. It also points out that the proposal would not shift disposition (charging) power away from commanders to legally-trained prosecutors outside the chain of command.

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