Saturday, November 08, 2008

New Developments Course

Like many readers I suspect, I just returned from the 32nd Criminal Law New Developments course at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. As usual, Charlottesville is beautiful in the fall. Here are a couple of quick highlights:

1- The Army has apparently developed a similar sort of program as the Navy’s Military Justice Litigation Qualification career path. It was referred to as “S.I.” Any of our Army friends have more details? Can somebody email us with the instructions/references establishing this program? From what I could gather, it was different than the Navy’s litigation qualification in three important respects: (1) it does not include precept language designed to highlight the need for such qualified officers at promotion boards, and (2) there seemed to be less emphasis on the assignment of qualified officers into litigation billets as there is in the Navy, and (3) there are four levels instead of two. Folks with more information please correct me and fill out the little I was able to pick up. I was hampered in my understanding of the brief by my ignorance of Army abbreviations.

2- CAAFlog and Mr. (vice Col) Sullivan received a brief shout out when Kennedy v. Louisiana was discussed.

3- Although I generally agree with the majority of our contributors that the commissions is off-topic or at least darn close, LCDR Brian Mizer did give a very interesting account of the OMC from the defense counsel perspective. What was most interesting was the reaction of the audience of around 300 uniformed attorneys. LCDR Mizer was brutally honest and sarcastic. It would have been easy to be offended by him if you were looking for excuses, but the audience seemed very well disposed to him, asking several probing questions. The vast majority of attendees were very receptive to his insights and opinions, or at least those who were not did not make many comments or display a reaction.

I wanted to give a particular nod to MAJ Charles Neill, JA, USA. Many of the speakers did a good job, but MAJ Neill seemed to have that right balance of useful information, clear presentation, with the right amount of clever humor thrown in that so many of the Army (and Navy at NJS) instructors aim for, and that so few actually can pull off.


Anonymous said...

I can report that at the Army JAG School's on-site 2 years ago the report on mil. commissions stuff was, shall we say, "politely" received by the assembled throngs of Reserve and National Guard JAGs.

Anonymous said...

Mizer's comments were 100% appropriate, especially considering that he is currently representing individuals before the commissions and on appeal from conviction at the commissions. There were some folks who thought his comments too critical. In my mind his comments were factual observations of what the government has actually created, said, or done communicated in an appropriately incredulous tone.

When this is all said and done I’d love someone to conduct manpower study of the commissions and place a price tag on the entire commission operation and assess the bang for the buck.