Monday, May 29, 2017

The dispute continues into the 2000's

MG Enoch H. Crowder
Fred L. Borch, U. S. Army JAGC Regimental Historian and Archivist, Military Justice in Turmoil: The Ansell-Crowder Controversy of 1917-1920.  The Army Lawyer, March 2017.

We talk of the current tumultuous times in modern military justice practice.  Politicians have resurrected the question of who decides to prosecute a service member.  We have studied the history of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. [1]  Here's something to remember.
While judge advocates today might think otherwise, calls for
BG Samuel T. Ansell
changes to the military justice system are nothing new. What follows is a brief look at the first major—and public— controversy about the proper role of the commander in the military criminal legal process and how courts-martial should be structured and operate. Major General Enoch H. Crowder, the Judge Advocate General (tJAG) between 1911 and 1923, generally favored the status quo, although he conceded that some changes to the Articles of War (the predecessor of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)) were necessary. Brigadier General Samuel T. Ansell, the Acting Judge Advocate General between 1917 and 1919, however, wanted radical reform. His fundamental disagreements with Crowder about the future of the court-martial system resulted in what has been called the ‘Crowder-Ansell Dispute.’ [2]
[1] A contemporaneous Background on the UCMJ (1959), for comparison.
[2] Edward M. Morgan, Existing Court-Martial System and the Ansell Army Articles.  29 YALE L. J. 33 (1919).

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