Military Justice in the News

Harvard Law Record:  Like, oh sure, he went to Harvard:  Although not trading places, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, which usually sits in Virginia, did travel to Cambridge to hear a case at Harvard.

Yesterday, Fraud With Peril posted the following piece about the strange case of James L. Adolph, a civilian contractor who has been sitting in pre-trial confinement in Kuwait, pending a court-martial:

This has not happened (and by “this” I am referring to the court-martial of a non-military US citizen)  in over 35 years and is made possible as a result of an ill-conceived 2006 amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as noted in Adolph’s motion filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.   If Mr. Adolph is destined to be prosecuted, the military, and the country, would be better off if the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Oklahoma, where Adolph apparently owns property, opted to prosecute him instead.  Stay tuned. 

We stayed tune and today we learn that Mr. Adolph has indeed been indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in the Western District of Oklahoma under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.  See here for today’s article from Tulsa World.  This indictment should moot the motion in DC Circuit Court and end some but not all of the problems facing military lawyers.  At the same time, the problems for the federal prosecutors have just begun:

For starters, how quickly and exactly just how will the Initial Appearance be conducted?  By video-conference, perhaps?  Will Mr. Adolph be entitled to representation by his appointed military defense counsel during the Initial Appearance? 

Will the military continue to allow its counsel to represent Mr. Adolph in Federal Court?  After all, the military details (or assigns) judge advocates to serve as Special Assistant US Attorneys; why not detail them to the Federal Public Defender’s Office? 

What credit, if any, will Mr. Adolph receive for time served should he ultimately be convicted and sentenced to imprisonment?

Also, what does this tell us about the DoD’s view of the 2006 Amendment to the UCMJ?  After all, we can assume that DoD asked DoJ to take this case off its hands.

As always, we welcome your thoughts.

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