Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mutiny, he wrote

The 1966 BBCtv production of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd (based on the posthumously published novel by Herman Melville) is available here on YouTube. Not exactly holiday fare (it ends badly for the Handsome Sailor).

Explain this, please

Is there some reason the names of the trial defense counsel are replaced with initials in this November Art. 62, UCMJ decision of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals? Oh, and how come the military judge is referred to as "MJ" even though his name is given on page 1?

Not military justice, but . . .

By a 5-2 vote, the Florida Supreme Court last Thursday dismissed rule making petitions that would have permitted spouses of military personnel stationed in the state to practice law without passing the bar examination. The decision directs the Florida Bar and the Board of Bar Examiners to submit a revised joint proposal:
The Bar and the Board are directed to file a joint petition within ninety days of the date of this order that imposes additional restrictions on those requesting authorization to practice law in Florida as the spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces. Such restrictions must include a time limit on the duration of the authorization and must require that all persons who receive authorization associate, either through participation in a law firm or through mentorship, with a member of the Bar who is eligible to practice law in Florida for the duration of the authorization.
Justice C. Alan Lawson (joined by Justice Charles T. Canady) would have approved the petitions "for the good and sufficient reason that they appropriately give form to the gratitude that we should all share for the sacrifices made each day by those serving in our Armed Forces, and by their families."

Not to detract from the spirit of the season, but if you were on a state supreme court, would you allow such an exception? Is gratitude to military personnel a cogent reason to dispense with requiring an attorney who is a military spouse to take and pass the bar examination?

Navy JAG Corps turns 50

Who knew? December 8 marked the half-century point for the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. Read all about it here.


Military justice changes coming in the Bay State

Governor Charlie Baker has proposed S. 2236, a bill that would establish a Massachusetts Code of Military Justice. At present the Commonwealth is one of the few states without its own military justice code. The measure has been referred to committee and can be downloaded from the General Court's website. It is described as putting the state's troops on the same footing, whether they are in federal (Title 10) or state (Title 32) status. Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has the story here. Excerpt:
Lt. Col. Shannon McLaughlin, state judge advocate for the Massachusetts National Guard, said in a phone interview Thursday that she is excited about how the changes will affect the 8,131 members in the state.

“This makes sure our operations are accurately represented by the law,” McLaughlin said.

McClaughlin said Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have its own uniform code governing conduct, meaning members are at risk of having military crimes prosecuted in different ways depending on whether the member is serving in a federal or state capacity.

Based on the American Bar Association’s Model State Code of Military Justice, the proposal will provide consistency and establish a series of military crimes that parallel those found in the federal Uniform Code of Military Justice. It also establishes procedures for the convening and conduct of courts-martial for specific military offenses.

“It gives our commanders ability to instill good order and discipline among the troops,” McLaughlin said.

Should a National Guard member commit a non-military crime, prosecution would still be handled in state court by a district attorney.
Proposed Article 2(b) provides:
Subject matter jurisdiction is established if a nexus exists between an offense, either military or non-military, and the state military force. Courts-martial have primary jurisdiction of military offenses as defined in article 1(a)(14) of this code. A proper civilian court has primary jurisdiction of a non-military offense when an act or omission violates both this code and local criminal law, foreign or domestic. In such a case, a court-martial may be initiated only after the civilian authority has declined to prosecute or dismissed the charge, provided jeopardy has not attached. Jurisdiction over attempted crimes, conspiracy crimes, solicitation, and accessory crimes must be determined by the underlying offense.