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A  series of pertinent – and impertinent thoughts about military justice


The CHAMPION magazine of the NACDL  contains an interesting article on grand jury reform that might be useful for those working Article 32 matters.  Some suggestions from this Jan/Feb 2015 article:

·         the government representative  must turn over all evidence in his/her possession, especially that which exonerates

·         the members should be reminded of their independence, duties, and powers with some sort of instruction

·         all evidence should be made available to defense witnesses prior to their testimony; no surprises

·         all defense witnesses must have sufficient time to prepare, along with the right to see an attorney to assist them

·         witnesses should be entitled to a transcript of their testimonies

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Checklists can help improve case outcomes, says Jeff Adachi in the CHAMPION  for Jan/Feb 2015.    The author includes practical checklists for eyewitness interviews;  motions to challenge the truth of an affidavit; and  a DNA chain of custody.

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Legal Adoption is extensively discussed in the May 2015 issue of THE ARMY LAWYER.  There’s an abundance of useful charts.

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The Southern Poverty Law reports a terrifying increase in online hate materials. “Stormfront” is the leading white supremacist web forum.  It’s seen a 140% rise in registered users since 2008.

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Requests for official information and government witnesses must meet the requirements of US ex. rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 US 462 (1951).  The May 2015 ARMY LAWYER contains excellent information and samples.

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Cross-examination  is the focus of Francisco Duarte’s “Practice Points” in the June 2015 THE CHAMPION.    High points:

·         have a strategy –a  theme or story for cross exam.

·         don’t take on experts in their field of expertise

·         with such experts, use them to confirm or establish facts; but block them from “explaining why”

·         find some irrefutable facts on which the prosecution witness will agree with you;  on those facts, ju-jitsu that witness and turn him/her into a defense witness

·         don’t be greedy — quit while you are ahead

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Over and over again, “shaken baby” cases are based on shaky science.  John Cannell and Bandon Sanchez write in the  June 2015 THE CHAMPION about multiple rib fractures and other possibilities besides criminality.  The authors deal with multiple fractures, lack of organ damage, nondisplaced rib fractures and other situations.  They suggest alternative explanations — lack of Vitamin Dl rickets and failure to diagnose rickets; the so-called Ehlers-Dantos syndrome; “osteogenesis imperfects” ; scurvy, copper deficiency;  and a host of other not-to-be-overlooked possibilities.  

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