Monday, October 02, 2006

Supremes deny cert in Quintanilla

The Supreme Court just announced that it denied certiorari in Quintanilla v. United States. See United States v. Quintanilla, 63 M.J. 29 (C.A.A.F. 2006). Quintanilla's cert petition asked that the Court hold the petition pending its decision in Carey v. Musladin, No. 05-785.

The Supreme Court's action probably elminates a thorny procedural question that arose when the case was remanded to Camp Pendleton and began to progress with its retrial despite the fact that a cert petition was simultaneously pending. This remand appears to have violated CAAF precedent:

As this Court discussed in a different context in United States v. Boudreaux, 35 M.J. 291 (CMA 1992), cert. denied, 122 L. Ed. 2d 743, 113 S. Ct. 1365 (1993), a criminal case in the court-martial system moves along "a time-line" or through "a 'tunnel of power'" where, depending upon the locus of the case, a particular authority has power over the substance of the case. See 35 M.J. at 293; and at 296 (Sullivan, C.J., concurring in the result). Thus, except for interlocutory maneuvers, for example, which may push the case ahead or pull it back, a court-martial case follows an orderly procession during which, at any given time, it rests within the power of a single authority.

United States v. Diaz, 40 M.J. 335, 343 (C.M.A. 1994).

CAAF nevertheless denied a petition for extraordinary relief to halt proceedings in the case until the Supremes ruled on the cert petition. Quintanilla v. Commandant, USDB, __ M.J. __, Misc. Nos. 06-8019/MC & 06-8021/MC (C.A.A.F. July 21, 2006).

--Dwight Sullivan

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