Friday, January 19, 2007

Show me the numbers

OK, I can take a hint. Two hints, as a matter of fact. So, I followed the "so easy a caveman can use it" link to the AFCCA, only to find the day's equivalent of Ye Olde Rubber Stamp. Which got me to pondering, as I do most Friday nights, why don't the Annual Reports -- the format for which seems to have remained unchanged since 1984 -- tell us just a wee bit more about appeals than simply the CCA workload? How about outcome? If the TJAG's are tasked with reporting the number of acquittals and the number of cases where relief was denied in an Article 69 review, why not report the percentage of CCA cases where relief was granted? Some relief. Any relief. Certainly such information would be of more interest to those who read the Annual Report in the MJ's than the number of Article 138 complaints filed in any given year.

1 comment:

gene fidell said...

The service-by-service military justice statistical reports reproduced in the Annual Report of the Code Committee are perfunctory and far below the level of sophistication needed to make informed judgments about the administration of justice under the Code. (We'll pass over the fact that the services are not even in synch in preparing the reports--compare the notes or lack thereof.) See also the Department's Annual Confinement Reports (DD Form 2720), which are virtually unknown outside the Pentagon. Does any analyze the data on these forms, and if so, is the analysis made public?

Here is what Article 146 says, incidentally:

(c) Reports.--(1) After each such survey, the committee shall submit
a report--
(A) to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives; and
(B) to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the military departments, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(2) Each report under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
(A) Information on the number and status of pending cases.
(B) Any recommendation of the committee relating to--
(i) uniformity of policies as to sentences;
(ii) amendments to this chapter; and
(iii) any other matter the committee considers appropriate.

The entire area of data-gathering needs a fresh look. Could the Federal Judicial Center, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, or the Office of Criminal Justice Statistics be a source of expert assistance?