Military Judges are people too…and so they make mistakes that can result in a valid appeal.
I have the utmost respect for military judges, however, it is important to remember that they are human and therefore sometimes make mistakes. If one of their mistakes impacts a servicemember who faced trial by court-martial or is facing trial by court-martial, the servicemember’s conviction may be overturned or never come to fruition. As an example, in 2012, LtCol Robert Palmer, a Marine military judge, led professional military education for a group of young Marines who were law students. It was reported by one of the students that during the training, the military judge made some inappropriate comments about the servicemembers facing trial by court-martial. First, it was reported that he called these servicemembers “scumbags.” Second, it was reported that he discussed the fact that Congress and the Commandant of the Marine Corps were looking for more convictions and that prosecutors should assume an accused servicemember is guilty. Finally, it was reported that the military judge joked that if a servicemember facing child pornography charges “gets off” due to the prosecutor’s incompetence, the prosecutor will go to hell. Based on these comments approximately 12 servicemembers who were tried by LtCol Palmer appealed their cases. This past Monday, September 23, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reversed and remanded each of those cases for further consideration. This goes to show you that sometimes there are valid appeals due to the mistakes military judges make. They are human beings and they sometimes make mistakes. If you believe a military judge has acted in a way that makes you question his ability to sit the bench or if you believe a military judge made a mistake in your court-martial that could lead to an appeal, call me and we will discuss it. You will need an experienced, strong advocate by your side when arguing that a military judge made a mistake that prejudiced your court-martial. To speak to an experienced court martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.