Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reforming Our Military Justice Non-System

On 9 November 2009 a very qualified (ex-JAG attorney) TV commentator described the pathological complexities of today's "military justice" non-system as to its far-too-many levels of investigation and review, both before and after any trials. This is far too valid a complaint about a military which should act in decisive and effective manner against the enemies of the American People, law and justice without and within the Armed Forces.

This is also an example of the cancer of "making jobs for lawyers" which has been rotting out the ethics, morals and economy of the USA---Especially since too many judges have begun "making law from the bench".

As I am reluctant to make a complaint without offering suggestions to correct errors, I offer the following recommendations as the the military law in the USA and its execution.
1.Require that only one person (With such staff as is required) be assigned to investigate any serious (Allowing death or a prison term of more than one-year as punishment) offense be assigned the responsibility to complete an investigation and given the sole authority as to any decision to charge or dismiss charges within 30-days of the accused be arrested or, if a fugitive, absconding from military authority.
2. Upon a decision to charge, an attorney to be appointed and all evidence presented to be delivered to him (Except as such as might endanger the national security; the Courts Martial judges to solely determine the disposition of such evidence.)
3. At that time a date for a court martial must be set for within 30-days, extend-able
45-days except in time-of-war or like state.
4. No "preliminary hearings" to be had as such, even in civilian courts are either waived or serve as "discovery sessions", the latter not needed as all relevant evidence would have been turned over to to the defense attorney.
5. The judges of courts-martial to have sole authority to determine the facts and, if the defendant is found guilty, the punishment to be imposed, reviewable only on matters of law by the "Military Court Of Appeals" and on questions of "mercy" by the Commander-in-Chief (The President of the USA).
6. In time-of-war or like conditions, any sentence of death is to be forwarded directly (Without review by the Military Court of Appeals) to the C-in-C for asap confirmation, and execution within 30-days, or commutation.
7. Execution of the death penalty should be by firing squad in a military-public setting and no longer by lethal injections, a more chancy method and, when possible, should be done within the unit in which the crime occured.
8. For military law only, the definition of "waging war against the USA" should be modified to include "any deadly attack, by a member of the armed forces, on other like members or vehicles or buildings, on the basis of ideology or non-personal animosity; The penalty for this offense "Shall be death", without the usual alternative of "lesser punishment as the court may elect".
9. The same should apply to "Mutiny" and "Treason".
10. The crime of "terrorism" should be included in military law in such a manner as described in the blog cited below AND specially excluding the non-existent protections of the Geneva Conventions and allow for as quick dispositions as in # 6 & # 7 above.
11. The review of investigations or of the results of courts-martial by superior officers should cease as a means of establishing and protecting the independence of military judicial and semi-judicial officers.
12. No appeal of decisions from the military-court-of-appeals shall be made except to the Supreme Court of the USA and, as to sentences only, to the President

It is probable that such a change will encourage the balance of our Armed Forces to act with dispatch in making decisions, a feature which should be a prime characteristic of any military organization as in #5 above.

There have been times and are historical presidents for a more effective, timely and efficient use of courts-martial and military-commissions:
A. President Lincoln's administration discovered a number Lakotas who were, in time of war,, waging war against the USA or conspiring to do so. They were tried by Military Commission, found guilty and executed.
B. Those who conspired to murder Mr. Lincoln were tried by a Military Commission, found guilty and executed.
C. During World War-II some German saboteurs were landed, by submarine, in the USA dressed in civilian clothes. They were tried by either courts-martial or Military Commission, found guilty and executed.
D. During that same war some Germans were found under-arms and in civilian clothing attacking the uniformed troops of the USA. They were tried by courts-martial, found guilty and executed.


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