For those of you who don't habitually read the comments on CAAFlog, I wanted to devote a post to passing along a suggestion from CAPT Kevin Barry, USCG (Ret.), a distinguished former Coast Guard Court judge and a distinguished current civilian practitioner:
[I]t seems to me that a return to the once common practice of the trial defense counsel filing an "Art. 38c Brief" is in order. Since the revamp of the appellate review process (and the elimination of the SJA Review in favor of the SJA Recommendation) in 1983, it has become common for TDC to file only clemency materials, and the practice of filing a brief of errors for the consideration of the convening authority seems to have become the exception rather than the rule.
It is difficult for appellate defense counsel to get a good handle on what really went wrong at trial simply by reading the record. If the TDC files a brief identifying the issues, that brief will not only be available for the convening authority and the SJA to consider if they will, but to educate appellate counsel as to issues that should be considered for argument before the CCA. It does take some time, but it is an enormously helpful document and could make be the difference between appellate relief being granted or not.
Wise words from a wise man.
Now I'm off for a drink at what, according to one Chicago bus driver, is the Guinness Book of World's Records' reigning champion in the "longest bar" category.