15 December 2009

Congressional members weigh in on SEALs case; suspected terrorist has more procedural due process rights than the Navy SEALs who captured him

Last Thursday several Members of Congress sent a letter to Army Major General Charles T. Cleveland, who is the Commander of Special Operations Command at the U.S. Central Command, regarding the prosecutions of Navy SEALs Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe and Julio Huertas. The letter can be found here.

The three Navy SEALs have been charged with alleged abuse of a suspected terrorist, Ahmed Hashim Abed, after they captured him. Abed has been largely identified as the mastermind of a horrific attack in March 2004, in Fallujah Iraq, where four American civilian contractors were ambushed and killed and their bodies hung over the Euphrates River.

If the three SEALs are found guilty by special courts-martial, and are sentenced to a subjurisdictional sentence (which is confinement of less than one year and no punitive discharge), they have no right to appeal in any military appellate court or the Supreme Court. Conversely, the suspected terrorist Abed has an absolute right to access American courts regardless of any sentence imposed if he is found guilty. Earlier this year the Cox Commission recommended, in a report, that Congress amend the law to permit all contested courts-martial the right to appeal in the military appellate courts as a matter of a right regardless of sentence.

The case has been discussed over on CAAFlog here, here and here. (I've also made a comment to one of those posts.)

It would be an absolute disgrace, and contrary to democratic principles of procedural due process, if these Navy SEALs are found guilty and cannot appeal a conviction to the military appellate courts whilst the alleged terrorist they captured and brought to justice has a free ride in our American court system. Our brave servicemembers and the American public certainly deserve better. Congress should take swift action to correct the procedural due process flaw.

13 December 2009

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (on holiday) . . .

This week in Parliament posts will be on holiday until January 2010. The next This week in Parliament will be posted on 10 January 2010 for the week of 11 January.

This week in Congress (is on holiday) . . .

This week in Congress posts will be on holiday until January 2010. The next This week in Congress will be posted on 10 January 2010 for the week of 11 January.

12 December 2009

Army - Navy Game Day! GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!

Well it's Sunday here in Australia (which is Saturday back in the States), and I've been up since 0600: Army - Navy Game Day! (One Sport's channel is broadcasting the game live down under.)

GO NAVY!

09 December 2009

Lengthy discussion on detainees' rights trumps bill markup on American troops access to the Supreme Court in House Judiciary Committee

Today a resolution, H.Res. 920, which was previously introduced by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), regarding detainees at Guantanamo Bay trumped discussions on the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009, H.R. 569.

H.R. 569 was due to be marked-up today by the full House Judiciary Committee but because there was a long discussion -- two-hours-plus -- on H.Res 920, H.R. 569 has been held over to the next markup, which will be in January 2010.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers had issued a memorandum on Monday to all members of the Judiciary Committee concerning three bills which were due to be marked-up today. The memo, which can be found here, discusses H.R. 569 (at pages 9 - 14).

This memo also includes a manager's amendment, which passed by voice vote in a markup in June by the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, regarding a technical amendment to section 2, and an effective date.

08 December 2009

American Bar Association sends letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers supporting HR 569 on eve of markup

The American Bar Association this evening sent a letter to Chairman John Conyers of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, which was copied to all committee members, strongly supporting the enactment of the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009, H.R. 569. A copy of the letter can be found over on CAAFlog here.

H.R. 569 will be marked-up tomorrow morning by the full committee. A link to the live web cast of the markup, which will start at 1000 hours (U.S. Eastern Time), can be found here.

07 December 2009

This week in Congress (7 Dec 2009) . . .

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress:

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

House Committee on the Judiciary, markup on the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009, H.R. 569, 1000 hours, 2138 Rayburn House Office Building. The committee web site's hearing page is located here. The markup will be available for viewing live via a web cast here at 1000 hours (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). This blog has discussed the bill here and here. CAAFlog has also provided past highlights of a subcommittee hearing conducted in June which can be found here.
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For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

06 December 2009

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (7 Dec 2009) . . .

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in recess until after the New Year. There are various Committee meetings occurring but none involve military justice or veterans issues.

The following military justice and veterans cases are occurring this week:

High Court of Australia

The High Court is sitting on 11 December 2009 in Sydney and Melbourne with a video link to Hobart in order to hear special leave applications; none of the applications concern military justice or veterans issues. The lists of cases with special leave applications can be found here and here.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

There are no military justice or veterans cases being argued this week in the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court).

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The Tribunal sits on 10 December 2009. We have an email into the Tribunal requesting a list of cases to be argued. When we receive a response this post will be updated.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

02 December 2009

H.R. 569 moved over to next markup

H.R. 569, the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009, was not marked up today by the House Judiciary Committee because the first two bills (there were four bills to receive markup) took up a significant amount of time. H.R. 569, along with the other bill H.R. 3180 - Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act of 2009 - have now been moved over to the next markup, which will be next week.