Friday, January 23, 2009

CAAF grant

CAAF granted review today of this issue: "WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ERRED BY ADMITTING IRRELEVANT AND HIGHLY PREJUDICIAL EVIDENCE IN VIOLATION OF R.C.M. 1001 AND MIL. R. EVID. 403." United States v. Sanders, __ M.J. ___, No. 09-0013/AF (C.A.A.F. Jan. 23, 2009). (Of course, that issue is a bit misleading. A military judge would necessarily err by admitting irrelevant and highly prejudicial evidence. The actual issue is whether the evidence was irrelevant and whether it was admitted in violation of R.C.M. 1001 and Military Rule of Evidence 403.)

The evidence at issue was a note found in Staff Sergeant Sanders' cell that was labeled his Last Will and Testament. It was addressed to Sanders' wife and apparently made some remarks critical of the military judge trying his case, the same military judge who later admitted the exhibit over defense objection and ultimately sentenced him. The Air Force Court held that the military judge properly admitted the exhibit. United States v. Sanders, No. ACM 36443, slip op. at 5-6 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. July 15, 2008).

1 comment:

Dew_Process said...

Dwight, Do you know, did the Defense Challenge the MJ for cause after the mistrial motion was denied?

Couple the issue about the MJ not releasing obvious Brady material along with the "Last Will and Testament" stuff, may have made the issue more palatable than a mistrial with its expansive deferential standards.