Friday, November 23, 2007

Beware the Navy JAG Corps web site's reading room

In updating the military justice research links on this page today, I came across something disturbing. I have previously noted that the Navy JAG web site's reading room includes the 2000 edition of the Manual for Courts-Martial and the 2000 edition of the UCMJ. That's bad enough, but at least almost everyone tempted to access the MCM will know that's not the current edition. Not so with the Reading Room's link to the JAGMAN. Wouldn't you think that the Navy JAG Corps' own web site would include the most current version of the JAGMAN which is, after all, issued by the Judge Advocate General of the Navy? I did. But I was wrong. Go to the Navy JAG Corps web site's home page here. Now click on Reading Room, which will take you here. Now click on the top link, which is called "Navy JAG Instructions and COMNAVLEGSVCOM Instructions." Scroll down to "JAG 5800.7D" which is the JAGMAN (or, to be more precise, which was the JAGMAN). What's the date? 15 March 2004. Why, of why, isn't the current version -- JAGINST 5800.7E dated 20 June 2007 -- on the Navy JAG Corps' own web site?

It seems apparent from the comments on this blog that most of the active readers are naval judge advocates. Could one of you seize the initiative to get the Navy JAG Corps' web site updated before some poor counsel or judge gets a case reversed for relying on an outdated regulation?


Anonymous said...

Made the appropriate communication and now the problem is solved. Good call.

Anonymous said...

Its worth pointing out that the website this refers to is the public website and not the JAG research site. Actual judge advocate research materials are provided internally on Navy Knowledge Online, hence the lapse in attention to the JAG public page.

Still, never good to let the public (or those always helpful, pseudo-media bloggers) think that you are relying on outdated material. I note that the docs have been updated.

Dwight Sullivan said...

Thanks, Interested!

Anon, I think it's crucial to keep in mind that a number of civilian counsel without access to NKO practice in the naval justice system. It would strike me as highly problematic if, say, military counsel have access to the latest JAGMAN while the civilian defense counsel has electronic access only to the 2004 JAGMAN. (I am extremely pleased that that is no longer the case.)

In fact, it isn't apparent to me why the Navy JAG Corps puts so much information -- including, for example, the latest issue of the Naval Law Review and a large number of NMCCA opinions -- on NKO but not on a web site easily available to the general public and judge advocates from other services. What would be the harm of putting the NKO research materials on a public site? I see substantial benefits to doing so.