Friday, August 15, 2008

Second judge disqualifies Hartmann as Gitmo legal advisor

Two cases do not make a trend, but this news from Guantanamo is disturbing: the military judge presiding over the trial of detainee Mohammed Jawad has disqualified Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to convening authority Susan Crawford, from any further participation in the case. Hartmann was also barred from participation in the Salim Hamdan case in an earlier ruling.

The presiding judge in the Jawad case, Army Colonel Steve Henley, found that Gen. Hartmann compromised his objectivity by aligning himself with the prosecution, and more specifically that he failed to communicate Jawad's counsel's analysis of "mitigating and extenuating circumstances" to Crawford. The judge remanded the case to the convening authority for consideration of those circumstances.

The hearing also saw testimony from Army Brigadier General Gregory Zanetti, who testified that Hartmann was "abusive, bullying and unprofessional" in promoting the tribunals, and the assertion of Article 31 rights by Army Lieutenant Colonel Diane M. Zierhoffer, a psychologist called to testify about interrogation techniques applied to Zawad in which she had apparently taken part.


Anonymous said...

Quote from the article:

"The judge also ruled that Frakt can submit exculpatory evidence to the tribunals' top official, Susan Crawford, for her to review whether the charges against Jawad are warranted — without input from Hartmann.

'For the first time, she will be presented with a balanced portrait of the facts and circumstances in this case," Frakt said.'"

Anyone with military appellate experience should find the idea that a mere "balanced portrait of the facts" could make Judge Crawford take action in favor of a criminal accused to be rather amusing.

Anonymous said...

When I was at appellate government, as long as we at least got Judge Crawford's dissent, we knew were right.

Christopher Mathews said...

With all due respect to those who are doubtful of Judge Crawford's impartiality, I think it could be counted a point in her favor that an advocate for the prosecution did not want to present defense arguments for her consideration.

Apparently, the belief that she would dismiss them out of hand was not universally shared.

Anonymous said...

What's with the personal attack on Susan Crawford? She is a well qualified jurist, and a former CAAF judge. This blog really scrapes the bottom of the toilet sometimes.

Anonymous said...

It's not a personal attack, it is a perfectly rational observation. And I think any experienced practitioner would acknowledge that Judge Crawford was a government hack.

But don't take my word for it, there are at least several dozen 4-1 CAAF decisions on LEXIS where you can enjoy her sole dissenting opinions.

So I would suggest you check your petty outrage and do some homework.

Anonymous said...

This is anon 12:42

I want to make clear that my statement was not meant as a personal attack on Judge Crawford. It was meant to be tongue and cheek. If it was taken any other way, then let me clear that mistake on your part.

I happen to believe that Judge Crawford is an outstanding jurist, a brillant lawyer.

And just because she was the lone dissenter in many cases does not make her a government hack, just the only person on the court who was right. That happens a lot with CAAF.

Anonymous said...

I guess that makes Judge Ryan a Hack as well. Or is any judge who dissents from the majority in an opinion that grants relief to an accused a hack?

Anonymous said...

Anon 0229,

Um, yep, pretty much.

Anonymous said...

Anon 229,

That's a very handsome straw man that you have there.

Anonymous said...

It's not a straw man.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone here is attacking Judge Crawford personally. Some judges are just generally pro-prosecution, while others are generally pro-defense. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good people or competent jurists. For example, the late Chief Justice Rehnquist was a man of great honor and intellect, but did anyone ever doubt where he would usually come out on a 4th amendment case? Did anyone ever doubt how the late Justice Marshall would decide the same case?

It's undeniable that Judge Crawford’s CAAF opinions generally contained a strong pro-prosecution flavor. Of course, she is a distinguished public servant and deserves our respect. And she was certainly qualified to sit on CAAF and sit as the convening authority for the tribunals. But let’s be real – Judge Crawford is no ally of the defense bar.

Do I have any direct knowledge that her pro-prosecution track record factored into her selection as the convening authority for the tribunals? Nope. Can I make suppositions based on what I know about the administration’s zealotry and Judge Crawford’s CAAF writings? You bet I can.

John O'Connor said...

I find that most judges who agree with me are competent, respected jurists, and the ones who disagree are stupid, corrupt, or hacks.

Anonymous said...

Presley o'bannon: time for an increase in your lithium.