Friday, June 13, 2008

NMCCA denies petition for extraordinary relief in Chessani case

NMCCA issued on unpublished opinion on Tuesday denying a petition for extraordinary relief filed by LtCol Chessani's counsel in his court-martial arising from the aftermath of the Haditha incident. United States v. Chessani, No. NMCCA 200800299 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. June 10, 2008). The opinion appeared on NKO today, but isn't yet on NMCCA's own web site.

The petition for extraordinary relief grew out of a discovery dispute. In a unanimous opinion written by Judge Stolasz and joined by Senior Judges White and Vincent, NMCCA first ruled that the discovery issue was not appropriate for extraordinary relief. The defense advanced an argument near and dear to my heart, arguing that if LtCol Chessani were to be convicted but receive a sentence that didn't include either a dismissal or a year or more of confinement, his case likely wouldn't be eligible for appellate review in any court. NMCCA rejected that argument, maintaining that Article 69 review within the Office of the Judge Advocate General is good enough.

Someone looking for a topic to write on at TJAGLCS or elsewhere please, please, please write an article examining the success rate of Article 69 appeals within each of the services. That could provide important information with which to assess NMCCA's holding that Article 69 review is good enough.

NMCCA went on to opine that even if the issue were appropriate for extraordinary relief, it would uphold the military judge's ruling.

1 comment:

John O'Connor said...

Whaddya mean no court could hear the case if the accused is convicted and is neither dismissed or confined for more than a year? NMCCA would have writ jurisdiction (just as it necessarily does over summary courts-martial) because of that well-traveled path whereby such cases are referred to the CCAs by the JAGs.

As I often end conversations with my children, if you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic.