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Military Judge Runs A Shell Game

By       Message William Boardman     Permalink
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The comments here are all by Judge Col. Lind from the June 10 morning session: 

 

"Just for the record, while the court is not interested in getting into the area of who is credentialed and who isn't credentialed as it's beyond the scope of this  trial, the court does note and so advised the parties in the RCM 802 that rules of court-martial are not structured to provide a contemporaneous transcript of proceedings." 

 

Nice distraction, putting attention on "who is credentialed" when the substantive issue us who gets access.  The Judge's MCM has no index listing for "press" or "media."  There is a listing for "public," which by definition includes all reporters, as well as all military personnel.  That's in Role 806(a), which also sets the primary expectation that "courts-martial shall be open to the public." 

 

That "shall" in the rule means that it's a judge's primary obligation to open the court-martial to the public, not an option, although the rule provides limited exceptions under exigent circumstances. The rule's discussion section states: "However, such exigencies should not be manipulated to prevent attendance at a court-martial."

 

RCM 802 is a jargon reference to pre-trial hearings that have already been held. 

 

The provision of a "contemporaneous transcript" is another distraction that leads attention away from the need for a meaningfully public trial. 

 

That "the court is not interested" in all this bespeaks a disdain for the public that one would expect to be better concealed.  

 

And that the court has, in effect outsourced its responsibility to control the courtroom and access to it, as described in Rule 806(b)(1), suggests possible dereliction of duty.

 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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