Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Second Cox Commission Public Hearing and Topics Announced

Here is a link to the notice of the Second Cox Commission's public meeting on June 16, 2009 at George Washington University Law School, Moot Court Room, L101, 2000 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20052.

Here is a link to the proposed agenda for the Commission. The notice also directs members of the public to submit written comments to coxcommission@wcl.american.edu or by mail to National Institute of Military Justice, 4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I also hear the commission will be considering whether to require the other services (not just the Army) to have JAG officers with actual law degrees instead of just an undergrad degree with a "law certificate" from their respective basic schools. Personally, I think this is a great idea. It would help the navy, marines, and air force with credibility in their JAG ops, plus it would make their JAG officers more marketable in the civilian world.

dreadnaught said...

Me no have "law certificate." Me forgot to get one at TBS. Oorahh!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 2137,

I also heard that they are considering adding "culpable ignorance" as a new offense under the UCMJ. Look out.

Anonymous said...

Reading the agenda items, this commission seems like a good idea farm for folks far removed from the needs of good order and discipline and the practicalities of military life. Normal business hours for courts-martial? This is the military - court schedules are driven by operational commitments not the convenience of trial observors. Do away with summary court-martial? This tool benefits both trial and defense by allowing for punishment that satsifies the needs of g.o.d. without marking the accused permanently with the stigma of a criminal conviction. Regional convening authorities? Convening Authority is a key tool for operational commanders to enforce g.o.d. in their units. The current system balances this power with robust procedural safeguards against UCI. I hope current practitioners and operators will be heard.

Anonymous said...

Should be no more helpful than the First Cox Commission. And where did former Judge Cox get the authority to commission a Commission? Self-importance is not a good judicial trait.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the Government commissioned the Cox commission, or did it commission itself, as suggested by the prevoius post?

Anonymous said...

It is not a Gov commission, so really it is a commission to the same extent I am a ruggedly handsome intellectual. It doesn't make it true just because I say it a lot on line. At least the tax payer won't have to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

It was commissioned by NIMJ.

Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

Two months ago I had a telephone conversation with a very senior attorney on the Senate Armed Services Committee for the majority (who I won't name here). I was suggesting that Congress consider a Congressionally sanctioned commission with the ability to issue subpoenas and take sworn testimony and then issue a formal report back to HASC and SASC. His response: "We have the Cox Commission, Code Committee and the JSC, everything is fine." As I heard that I thought gee that just sounded like a boilerplate DoD response.

Anon 1529 correctly pointed out the Cox Commission is not a government sanctioned commission. Nevertheless, at least we have some sort of oversight by it. If anyone has ever been to a Code Committee - you'd know that's pretty much a joke. It has a public meeting once a year that lasts maybe 20 minutes and no public comments are permitted. One year a CAAF judge quetioned why the five active judges are even on the Code Committee in the first place. And isn't the JSC the one that made certain recommedations to Congress on the new UCMJ art. 120, which were then adopted, and now some are saying are unconstitutional?

I do applaud NIMJ for putting together the Cox Commission. Congress has been UA (or AWOL) with respect to Congressional oversight on the UCMJ for quite sometime. Congress has not undertaken a thorough review of the UCMJ in over a quarter century. Conversley, most of our allies (including my other home country of Australia) have robust governmental reviews of their military justice systems and have enacted modernized systems.

The UCMJ is outdated. It's a 20th century military justice system operating in the 21st century. It needs a thorough review followed by updates. Our allies, who serve alongside us in the multi-theatre war on terrorism, have far more advanced military justice systems than that of the United States.

Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

My recommendations to the Cox Commission can be found here.

Anonymous said...

Norbs,

You got you facts regarding 120 wrong. I expect more from a self-professed Hill insider.

Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

Anon 0940: I don't believe I have my facts wrong. This is my understanding (feel free to correct me if I have misunderstood something): Congress asked DoD for its thoughts on a new art. 120 and DoD at first opposed. Then the JSC went to work and made several proposals and recommendations to members of HASC and SASC basically stating that in the event Congress did create a new art. 120 here's what DoD recommends. Some of those proposals and recommendations were then adopted - - and have now been questioned as being unconstitutional. You can find some of those DoD/JSC proposals on the OGC website reading room located here. Though that webpage doesn't contain all the documents JSC/DoD provided to HASC and SASC on the subject matter.

Back to my original point. Congress hasn't performed a thorough review of the UCMJ in over a quarter century. Whilst NIMJ's Cox Commission is a good start - it's not Congressionally sanctioned. I believe Congress should convene a commission to review the UCMJ. That commission should have subpoena power, have public hearings, take sworn testimony and deliberate. Then issue a report with any recommendations to HASC and the SASC for consideration. Don't you agree a review of the UCMJ - - lets say every 15 or 20 years - - is warranted? Or do you think everything is just fine?