As if jury selection isn’t tedious enough, it becomes even more so when a flag officer is being prosecuted. Per the Military Times, issues abound.
Here’s a quick synopsis of various issues at hand along with a bit of commentary.
- A court-martial panel must consist of members who are senior in rank (or date of rank) to the accused. Except per Rule for Court-Martial (RCM) 912(f)(K) which states that a member of a court-martial panel shall be excused whenever they are “junior to the accused in rank, unless it is established that this could not be avoided.” Here, the Army may run out of general officers who have not already formed an opinion about Sinclair. That leads to the second point which is…
- Will the court-martial turn to flag officers from other services? It is possible, and the Air Force is the logical choice given proximity and familiarity of the services.
- Everything these flag officers say is important, and each is a present or potential court-martial convening authority. From looking at the discussion of each in the Military Times, they are publicly disclosing details on their view of crimes, witness credibility, criminal procedure, culpability, sentencing theory, and sexual assault. It will be interesting to see if any of their statements during voir dire (jury questioning and selection) comes back at a later date.
- UPDATE: The military times notes that 3 generals remain on the panel. As of today, that is no longer true. They were struck by the military judge. (Thanks to Bill C. in his comment at CAAFLog.)