Wednesday, March 21, 2007

C.A.A.F. unanimous in United States v. Young.

Today, the Court decided its second decision in as many days. Perhaps my perception is skewed by the Court's decision yesterday in Leonard, but this case presents little worthy of comment. The Court devotes two thirds of its opinion to addressing Young's legal insufficiency claim, and to revisiting the Court's decision in United States v. Savage, 50 M.J. 244 (C.A.A.F. 1999), which involved charges of distributing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute on the same day. The C.A.A.F. found the combination of large sums of cash and empty plastic bags containing marijuana residue to be legally sufficient to prove that Young had distributed some amount of marijuana. The Court further held that the eighteen pounds of marijuana found near Young in the home of Young's cousin satisfied the possession with intent to distribute offense, and that Young had not been twice punished for the same act as had happened in Savage.

Now for the part that is worthy of comment. The Court was unanimous, for the first time since C.A.A.F. announced Diaz v. J.A.G. of the Navy in 2004, in affirming the due-process right of servicemembers to timely appellate review. Judge Crawford may have actually written over 100 separate dissenting opinions on this very issue. By the way, how are those speedy trial motions faring at the commissions? You will recall that both new judges listed post-trial delay cases on their list of three important cases in documents submitted to the SASC. We now know that they have signed on to the fundamental framework set forth in Moreno and Toohey II, which were decided last term. It would appear that C.A.A.F. will remain in the group of Federal Courts of Appeals acknowledging a due-process right to timely appellate review for some time.

No comments: