Highest Ranking Judicial Military Judicial Officer
bickersj1 at nku.edu
Wed Jan 10 18:36:08 PST 2007
Before making the plunge into academia I was a judge advocate. It was a delight to see your questions: I lurk on the list and learn much, but I don't have the opportunity to give back often. So...
[A caveat: my answers are Army answers. Each of the services has their own nuances.]
1. The Army JAG Corps is led by two 2-star generals and three 1-stars. One of the 1-stars is the head of, among other things, the trial judiciary. The judges are all lieutenant colonels and colonels.
2. None. They only have criminal jurisdiction.
3. As is so often the case in criminal law, it depends on the defense counsel. I used to routinely make Constitutionally based motions, although the ones that win are those which have some executing rule of evidence or other procedural rule (the military rules of evidence almost exactly parallel the federal rules, so exclusionary motions look much the same). For a time I would begin every contested trial with a sixth amendment motion that panel selection (military courts do not technically have "juries") was unconstitutional. I didn't win-and didn't expect to. I hoped that the appellate division folks would find it worthy of taking up, but they never did. One case on the appointment of military justice made it to the Supreme Court a few years back (the counsel who raised it at trial was a Marine whose client was convicted of stealing a racquetball racquet). The motions themselves look much like any motions--military lawyers most consistently cite cases from the appellate military courts (the first tier is made up of judge advocates of each service; the second is a five-member civilian group currently called the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; appeals from there go to the Supreme Court). The reporters for these opinions changed in the mid-1970's from a deep scarlet to the standard beige look, prompting more than one military judge in my experience to intone, "counsel, you know there IS law in the red books."
4. There used to be a two-volume set on court-martial procedure and evidence (by Saltzburg, Schleuter, and Schinasi, if memory serves) which to me doesn't qualify as brief. There is also a nutshell guide which I recall being pretty unhelpful. There's a recent collection of essays by Eugene Fidell and Dwight Sullivan which, considering the source, I expect is very good, but I must admit that I haven't read it.
There are a couple of other rehabilitated soldiers teaching now, so any of them reading this list might well have a better idea of a good text than I. Good luck with whatever primed the questions,
Chase College of Law
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of RJLipkin at aol.com
Sent: Wed 1/10/2007 3:58 PM
To: CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Highest Ranking Judicial Military Judicial Officer
I have some questions about a topic--along with virtually an infinite number of other topics--about which I know absolutely nothing. (1) Who is the highest ranking judicial military official? (2) What types of cases--other than courts-martial--do military courts hear? (3) What role does the Constitution--specifically interpretations of the Constitution by military judges--play in these cases? (4) Is there some relatively brief source containing answers to these questions? Off-List replies are fine. Thanks in advance.
Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
Ratio Juris, Contributor: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/ <http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/>
Essentially Contested America, Editor: http://www.essentiallycontestedamerica.org/
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