Monday, December 22, 2008

An NIMJ funder to shut down

One of the developments in contention for a spot on the top-10 military justice stories of 2008 list is NIMJ's hiring of two full-time employees. Establishing a sustainable think tank outside of DOD to analyze the military justice system would be an enormous development -- and a highly salutary one in my book. Such a development wouldn't displace DOD's role in the military justice policy arena, but it would complement it.

But I fear that the Bernie Madoff (as in "Bernie made off with our money") scam may endanger that outside think tank's sustainability.

The insanely informative Capital Defense Weekly reported yesterday that the JEHT Foundation will be closing in January due to granters' losses resulting from Madoff's alleged crimes. JEHT reportedly won't rescind grants already made, but also won't honor multi-year grants. Guess who one of those multi-year grant recipients was. As Daily Kos reports, one of them was the National Institute of Military Justice, which was awarded a three-year grant of $510,000 in 2007.

That raises two questions: (1) Did NIMJ just lose $170,000? (2) If so, will NIMJ be able to continue to execute its important mission?

15 comments:

Gene Fidell said...

Unfortunately, the closing-down of the JEHT Foundation means NIMJ will not be receiving the generous second- and third-year grants we were anticipating from this highly-regarded foundation. Our other funders are, of course, aware that JEHT is shutting down, and we are optimistic that they and possibly new ones will step in with additional support. JEHT was a major funder for a variety of public interest organizations, and NIMJ is grateful not only to have been selected for JEHT support but also to have been in such good company. Nothing is certain given the overall economic picture and the shock waves that have hit philanthropy in general, but we expect (and are determined) to continue the mission. We have an outstanding full-time team and exciting plans for 2009 and are open to CAAFlog readers' suggestions. Did I mention that we accept donations? Best regards to all for the holidays.

Ama Goste said...

One other correction--NIMJ now has 3 full-time staff members, adding a Program Coordinator just last month.

Anonymous said...

Isn't NIMJ sort of a "civilian defense counsel for courts-martial bar association"? Do they do anything except oppose the pentagon on military justice issues?

Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

Anon 0910: No NIMJ doesn't just support defense counsel. As I recall NIMJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Government in Clinton v. Goldsmith. Arguing that CAAF exceeded its jurisdiction under the All Writs Act. I don't believe NIMJ is slanted either way. Rather it appears to be that NIMJ supports what is just and right (whether supporting the Government or a particular defense position); and further gives a outside perspective other than the Pentagon's views.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Maclean: I apologize to you and the the other NIMJ members for my last statement, which was broader than I intended. The last I recall seeing on NIMJ was that you were opposed to military commissions. I did think it was a bar association, sort of.

Dew_Process said...

Anon 0910: FYI

MISSION

What NIMJ is all about

The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) is a District of Columbia non-profit corporation organized in 1991 to advance the fair administration of military justice and foster improved public understanding of the military justice system. NIMJ is not a government agency.

NIMJ’s boards of directors and advisors include law professors, private practitioners, and other experts – none of whom are on active duty, but most of whom have served as military lawyers, several as flag and general officers. NIMJ is affiliated with the Washington College of Law, American University.

http://www.nimj.com/video.aspx?name=Welcome&video=nimj.wmv

Check it out when you have a moment or two.

Gene Fidell said...

NIMJ does not have members. We have a board of directors and an advisory board. These are listed on our website. Mr. McLean is not affiliated with NIMJ.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how the list of NIMJ members and the slobs who advertise in the base newspaper that they will take $5k for a 112a dive seem to be the same, though.

Gene Fidell said...

NIMJ does not have members.

Anonymous said...

Raise your hand if you've ever been part of a case where a CDC came on board and made a big stink about rejecting any pending PTA and demanding an Article 32, and then once the useless 32 was over "negotiating" a PTA that was worse than was originally offered.

Not a bad way to score a couple of grand I guess. Especially when military counsel does all of the paperwork for you.

That being said, there are some great CDCs out there, and if I was ever court-martialed I might consider hiring one. Although from my perspective the only ones really worth it are the former Marines.

Jason Grover said...

Gene, how do I become a member?

I am kidding. Merry Christmas!

Jason Grover said...

Anon 1139,
CDC are just like judge advocates and attorneys everywhere. There are some great ones, some decent ones, some bad ones, and some horrible ones that make the most noise. One of the fun things about working on appeals is the ability to read lots of records of trial. I got to see how a wide variety of CDCs actually performed in court. Another group of people you learn a lot about by reading lots of records are the military judges. Just like the CDCs, there are some great ones out there.

Dew_Process said...

JG - you pretty much nailed it. As a now CDC, I had plenty of experience dealing with trial and appellate CDC's - the one's with JAG backgrounds obviously had an advantage, and the "good lawyers" tended to be good because they recognized their limitations and worked with Military DC as team members.

And unfortunately, there is that noisy group of incompetent buffoons, that should be barred from any military courtroom.

When you're reading a record and encounter this, you know why you're reading a verbatim record:

"MJ: Counsel, if you refer to the Sergeant Major as "Major" one more time, I'm holding you in contempt.

CDC: I'm sorry, Your Honor.

MJ: Yes you are."

Anonymous said...

Best attorney I ever saw in a military courtroom was an E6 that represented himself pro se. Government was offering some outrageous deal and the client refused to accept any deal. Turned out to be an Officer panel case. Received FG Article 15 punishment. TC's that tried the case hung their heads in shame when the sentence was announced. Chief of Justice made excuses for the result. One month later the panel was replaced with a "new" panel with commanders and 1SG's. Reeked of panel stacking. Did not matter. Justice shop never recovered and were the laughing stock on post for the next year. Good deals flowed like fine wine after this debacle and the DC's who worked this region still refer to it as the "salad days" of justice.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

NIMJ "advises the Pentagon on military justice policy" the same way Greenpeace "advises" the Navy on effective use of sonar.