Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Precedential value cont'

One commentator asked how often the service courts have been cited in state court opinions. I didn't set out to look for the answer to that question, but in the course of looking for CMA/CAAF opinions, I came across 13 state court opinions published over the last two years that cited CCA/CMR/BR decisions. (Obviously there may have been more, since I wasn't actually looking for intermediate military appellate decisions but rather found these cases while looking for state cases citing CMA/CAAF decisions.) Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, at least one state court didn't appreciate the distinction between the pre-Military Justice Act of 1968 boards of review and the intermediate military appellate courts that they evolved into thereafter. In Edmund v. State, 921 A.2d 264 (Md. 2007), the Maryland Court of Appeals addressed this issue: "Does the common law currently require a victim to be identified by name in a charging document alleging assault?" In the course of holding that it doesn't, the court noted: "See also United States v. Schreiber, 16 C.M.R. 639, 1954 WL 2536 (A.F.C.M.R. 1954) (sustaining sufficiency of charges against member of the United States Air Force for murder in Korea of Oriental male, unidentified by name, caught stealing from supply depot)." 921 A.2d at 271. The 1954 Schreiber opinion was, of course, a decision of an Air Force Board of Review, not the Air Force Court of Military Review.

For those of you interested in an inter-service breakdown, five of the thirteen decisions were from the Navy-Marine Corps Court, five were from either the Air Force Court or an Air Force Board of Review, and three were from the Army Court.

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