Friday, April 04, 2008

Speaking of NMCCA . . .

We understand that on 11 April, NMCCA will invest a new Chief Judge: CAPT Bruce MacKenzie. Coincidentally (and I do mean coincidentally--a previous time when I used that term, it was misreported as suggesting a causal relationship), earlier this week in United States v. Weston, __ M.J. ___, No. NMCCA 200600985 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 31, 2008) (en banc), NMCCA en banc reversed a panel decision that had reversed a ruling by CAPT MacKenzie in which he denied a suppression motion while sitting as a trial judge.


Anonymous said...

Captain MacKenzie is the new Chief Judge of the Trial Judiciary. Captain O'Toole is the new NMCCA Chief Judge.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that J.A. Maksym is joining NMCCA? If so, then how will he get along with his colleagues who wrote the decision in U.S. v. Todd, 200400513, decided by NMCCA on 9 July 2007:

"Despite the military judge’s repeated invitations on the record, we decline to disturb the court-martial’s verdict. We will, however, take this opportunity to once again express our concern with the comments made by, and lack of judicial deportment exhibited by, this military judge during his trials.

The record is replete with needless comments and arrogant behavior by the military judge. The military judge grilled potential members, openly questioned the integrity of a potential member without sufficient basis, characterized as “imbecilic” a convening authority’s conduct in the case, openly contemplated contempt proceedings against a former panel member, and criticized a witness’ decision to smoke a cigarette.

More troubling to us is the military judge’s goading of the military counsel by his incessant sarcasm, and his pompous condescension towards them, often in the presence of the members.

While we recognize that much of the military judge’s behavior in this case occurred in the absence of the members, his overall demeanor was unacceptable. Irrelevant banter by the military judge, such as occurred in this case, has the very real potential to call into question the members’ verdict, undermines confidence in the military justice system, and displays a lack of judicial temperament. Once again, we admonish this military judge to refrain from making injudicious comments on the record."