Friday, August 22, 2014

Acquittal in closely-watched CF case

A five-member panel has unanimously acquitted a Canadian Forces warrant officer in a closely-watched sexual assault case. CBC News has the story. Perhaps some of our Canadian readers can comment on what, if anything, this outcome means.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Military justice books are to books . . .

The Washington Post has reported the death of Robert Sherrill, a journalist and author. In 1970 he wrote "Military Justice is to Justice as Military Music is to Music." (Sometimes incorrectly attributed to Groucho Marx, the phrase was actually the work of Georges Clemenceau.) Edward F. Sherman, later Dean of Tulane Law School, writing in The New York Times, called the Vietnam Era book "an immensely readable critique of the way the military dispenses justice."

Governor Jerry Brown signs military justice reform measure

Gov. Jerry Brown
California governor Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill that reforms state military justice to require that sex offenses be investigated and prosecuted by civilian authorities. According to this article in SFGate:
Sexual assault cases involving active-duty members of the state military are already typically handled in local civilian courts, as the California Military Department isn't equipped to pursue the cases. The new law codifies that practice starting in 2015, and is envisioned as a trend-setter.
"We know that the debate in Washington D.C. and the efforts in the nation's capital have been difficult for those trying to separate the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases from the chain of command in the military," said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who authored the bill.
"California can be the first state in the nation to do so and it is my hope that we set an example not just for other states, but build enough momentum into achieving this at a federal level."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Petty Officer Gil is not going quietly

Petty Officer Johnny Félix Gil Leniz is not going quietly. He has been held in preventive detention at Bolivian headquarters while various legal proceedings have been going on. The latest is a complaint filed on his behalf against the president  and two other judges of the military appellate court. Details appear in this article from Pagina Siete. Supporters are on a hunger strike.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keats conviction overturned by New Zealand Court Martial Appeal Court

Commodore Kevin Keat, RNZN
In a stunning development, the Court Martial Appeal Court of New Zealand has overturned the court-martial conviction of a Commodore who was convicted on charges growing out of an adulterous affair with a subordinate. Stuff.co.nz has this account from The Dominion Post:
[I]n a 71-page decision yesterday, Justice Jillian Mallon, on behalf of the appeal court, said [trial judge Chris] Hodson [QC] had failed to properly direct the three-person military panel at Keat's court martial on the issue of his state of mind, and had failed to properly summarise the defence case.
[Commodore Kevin] Keat's convictions were quashed as a result, but the appeal court was unable to say whether or not they would have been proven if the correct process had been followed.