Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another U.S. deserter resists deportation from Canada

We've previously discussed the interesting legal dispute over the deportation of U.S. military deserters from Canada. (See here, here, and here.) As this A.P. report discusses, another such case was litigated in Canada's Federal Court yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Harper won't have it, but if he loses to Ignatieff that may be a different story.

Anonymous said...

Umm, shouldn't that be "alleged" deserter...especially given the defense slant this site is famous for...

Socrates said...

You mean "alleged" defense slant -But CAAFLog should take the complement for at least being "famous." By the way, can you cite three examples on this website of a pro-defense slant? And being critical of a government practice or a government argument doesn't count. (I can explain that distinction if you need me to).

John O'Connor said...


Clearly a philosopher of your reknown knows that your offer is a fool's errand. Mr. Anonymous could name three instances where the blog favored the defense position, and you could simply respond that these weren't instances of defense bias because the blog was simply calling those cases right.

I think this blog has something of a pro-defense slant, based primarily on the general orientation of most of the admins and commenters. But it's not far off the beaten path and is generally responsible (at least the admins are). We all have our biases, and they necessarily impact our outlook. I don;t think aknowledging that this blog is somewhat left of center (but responsibly so) detracts from it any.

Socrates said...


I partially agree with you on the concept of inherent biases. Yes, everyone has them. But, not all biases are equal. The one unscholarly "bias" that I must decry every time it rears its ugly head is the: "He was guilty! ...To hell with procedure" refrain, in all of its various and silly permutations. This is a LEGAL blog, for crying-out-loud. That sentiment does not advance anybody's knowledge or insight one iota. (The semantic quibble about the word "alleged" is just an insinuation of this argument) And for many commentators to continually shoot that recurring notion down, like skeet shooting, does not mean that this blog is "slanted" to the defense.

My take on the your body of work is that you tend to only be moved by "big" military justice issues. You seem to yawn at many of these tempests in the teapots. I used to think you were too dismissive of the appeal process, but now I think you have your own cantankerous charm.

But to your point, people often conflate "even-handedness" with "objectivity." Even-handedness can sometimes reduce to an almost absurd attempt to seek out and report alternative viewpoints. Objectivity, on the other hand, simply means a willingness to change one's mind when confronted with evidence, logic or argumentation. It seems to me that CAAFlog is objective. It also seems to me, based on your comments, that you, too, are objective. You start with a tentative bias, but sometimes are willing to go either way on an argument. I must respect that. And you don't dish out snarky comments. (There is a new book just released called "Snark," by a social critic who says that snarkiness is ruining human communication...I'm going to check out the author's central argument when I get a chance)

The problem we have in the judicial universe, as opposed to politics, is that there are generally only two parties, defense and government, and no "middle," which may artificially tilt the discussion.

Finally, blogging is an inherently "subversive" medium with its own "voice." (That's why I recoil by some attempts to turn CAAFlog into what it is not - a 'law review lite'. It should continue to be a smart, but sometimes irreverant discussion of military justice. I don't mind dissing & ribbing, I just don't care for truly mean-spirited ad hominem attacks) Dominant viewpoints tend to be expressed by conventional means (judicial decisions) and mainstream media.

Anonymous said...


The refrain, "He was guilty! ...To hell with procedure," may simply be a reflection of "There was error, but it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt." That is a perfectly legal refrain.

Pro-defense slant or not, this is an outstanding blog, with an administrator, Dwight Sullivan, who is one of the finest and fairest lawyers in the country.

John O'Connor said...


Thanks for the kind words. (if you knew me, and you might for all I know, the cantankerous comment is more or less right on).

I agree with virtually everything in your post. I think, in general, the administrators here have something of a left-of-center bias for military justice matters, but it's neither radical nor dogmatic. They try to get it right (just as I, someone who most would say is right-of-center) try to get it right, though we are all trying to "get it right" while having some preconceived notions and values.

I agree that this is a fine blog.

Mike "No Man" Navarre said...

Am I still on CAAFlog? It is a veritable love fest on this string.

As for Socrates, your description of JO'C could not be better, "you have your own cantankerous charm.". I think I will frame it and put it on his office wall.

Dwight Sullivan said...

All this sweetness is making me nauseous. Socrates (or, as Bill and Ted would say, So-Crates), even I think this blog has something of a defense slant. That's not because I try to be biased or that other commentators try to be biased; on the contrary, I suspect we all try to avoid bias and often second guess ourselves in that attempt. And I (like most of our commentators) have represented both the United States and servicemembers. But I've spent a lot more of my career on the defense side than the government side and that colors my perspective. And everyone who reads my posts should know that, since in evaluating my posts, they should know that I write not with a pro-defense agenda, but rather with a defense counsel's orientation. They can then discount, reject, or accept my arguments with that knowledge. (I try to be objective, I have certainly advanced arguments that go against mainstream defense views -- like my position on exclusionary rules -- and I try to avoid writing anything to advance my interests in ongoing litigation, but many of my views are influenced by my many years on the defense side of the house.)

Now can we all please get back to fighting with one another?

John O'Connor said...

"Now can we all please get back to fighting with one another?"


If it makes you feel any better, I was going to conclude my prior post (where I say this is a fine blog) by saying that it was sort of surprising because you were one of my instructors at NJS and I work with Navarre, and you're both dicks.

Anonymous said...

This is a blog, so stop being so nice. I have also seen an increase is comments criticizing spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.

Look pals,

It is a f'ing blog. Only lawyers bother with spell check on blogs. To quote my favorite contributor “you all played recorders in the HS band. Tools.”

Did that get it back to where it needs to be?