Thursday, April 7, 2011

ACCA Declines to Intervene in Bozicevich Counsel Issue

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals thwarted SGT Joseph Bozicevich's latest efforts to obtain counsel with death penalty experience in his capital court-martial which is currently underway.  ACCA declined to review this interlocutory appeal, as is the case with most appeals that arrive at the court before the completion of trial.

This article says the court starts later this month.  I don't know why the media never considers arraignment, motions, and voir dire part of the court-martial, but I digress.

One issue that I hadn't considered until now is that Bozicevich's arguments would be much stronger if he only had military counsel, who are somewhat randomly assigned free of charge to him.  Because he hired a civilian attorney at his own expense, a court might wonder why he didn't select a civilian with capital experience.  Was it because Mr. Charlie Gittins, a retired Marine, was on the case before it was referred capitally?  Was it because there aren't many civilian counsel practicing in military court who have capital experience?  

Of course, given that "death is different" and the military doesn't exactly have a stellar track record on capital convictions withstanding appellate review, why wouldn't the military judge grant the motion for "learned counsel" to save a glaring appellate issue?