JAG-ged Edge
Trial Defense Services (TDS) Deployed
By: Andrew Efaw

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Saturday, 18-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Spooky Spooky CID

18 December 2004:

The only way to describe the weather of the last couple of days is cold. Spent all day today prepping for 32's, except for 3 hours I took to do laundry and run 4 miles. I spent the morning interviewing the very cage CID Special Agents (SA). They are naturally mistrustful of TDS and cynical by nature. Back in the real world they go around as spooks in civilian clothes or undercover in some other soldiers uniform. He in theater, they have to wear DCU's at least on some occasions, but they don't wear rank or insignia. They wear two u.s. insignias on their collars, so you're never quite certain of the rank you are talking to. Fortunately, I knew some of their fellow agents-- that they also knew-- from my days a prosecutor, so we started with some common ground. Still, they are always tough interviews. I mean, like think about what its like to do a witness interview of a polygrapher. The guy thinks every answer means something else . . . maybe. Really though, they're a great group of guys. When I got done interviewing the SAC (SA-in-Charge), he said, "I'm surprised by how many CID techniques you use when you interview. Kudos." Who knew? I think that was a compliment. I choose to take it as a compliment. This is the 3rd twelve plus hour day in a row. So out here.


Friday, 17-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pinging Off the Walls

17 December 2004:

It's 2300, and I have been working the last 14 hours. Yesterday was the same. Went home after midnight. I've been working two alleged rape cases. It's been very interesting work. Next week are the 32 hearings for both cases. 32's are somewhat analogous to civilian grand jury hearing with several differences. For one thing, the proceedings are not secret. In a nutshell, a non-lawyer investigating officer conducts a hearing to listen to witnesses and examine evidence. He reaches a conclusion regarding how the case should be disposed and makes a recommendation to the commanding general (CG)/convening authority (CA). The CG decides to convene a court-martial or to dispose of the case administratively. Typically, TDS uses the proceeding to conduct discovery and to attempt to reach a low level disposition of the case. Rape cases are always interesting bec. they inevitably involve stories and relationship and rumors and expert witness and doctors and CID (criminal investigation command). And here, the fact patterns are complicated by all the events occurring in a combat zone, with the unit hitting IEDs, taking small arms fire, and being mortared.

The medical piece of cases here at Arifjan in a bit unique because it run by the Navy, so we're dealing with a whole different set of rules and rank structure. Plus, the hospital is a modern version of a MASH. It's completely contained in interconnecting tents.

Today's case took us up north to Camp Navistar to interview witnesses. Navistar was described to me as a fly ridden truck stop 200 m short of Iraqui border with a pretty decent mess hall. After being there, I agreed with everything but the mess hall assessment. Every camp I've seen is a little rougher. Right now, I living as well as one can. I feel like I live at the "show camp." On the way back, we got a little lost from the "approved routes" and ended up in a rather urban area outside of Kuwait City. Felt a little dicey stopping at stoplights.


Wednesday, 15-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kuwaiti Naval Base (Camp Patriot)

15 December 2004:

"When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard."
- General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Today was cold and wet and blustery. Can't believe how much rain we've gotten and nothing's green. For the most part though, the weather since I've been here has been spectacular. It's nearly 2230, and I am still at the office. That's the way things are looking to be until Christmas. Today, I went to the Kuwaiti Naval Base (KNB) where we (the U.S.) have some soldiers and lots of sailors who load and unload ships. They live in a tent city that is pretty rundown. I was there to meet one of my clients and to interview as many witnesses as I could. That took the better part of the day. I rode down with CPT Curry, one of my opposing counsel, but a great guy. He had some classes to teach down there. CPT Curry spent 19 and a half years in the Air Force and rose to the rank of 1SG when the Army offered him a direct commission after he graduated from law school. He's been in the Army 4.5 years now. As he like to say, he's been in DoD for 24 years and in the military for 4.5. While I waited for Curry to finish one of his classes at the end of the day, I wondered into the community center and play a soldier and a sailor in pool. I lost. They made me drop and knock out 30. Curry showed me around the base. Even though it was grey out. It was good to see the water and the entirety of Kuwaiti Navy. The base, like the air force base I've been to, looks completely run down and 3rd world. Surprising, for such rich country. I am told, however, that the Kuwaitis hire TCN's to man all their military bec. they don't want to do such grunt work. That might explain the facilities. Went into the KNB BX area. There was guy there selling nearly every first run movie out there for $5 a pop, or you could get one with 5 older ones for $7. Back at Arijan it was lobster night. Try eating a tail with very flimsy plastic fork. Not easy. You end up using your fingers. After dinner, it was back to the office to plan for lots of upcoming 32's and witness intererviews.


Tuesday, 14-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Court

14 December 2004:

The last few days have been crazy busy. On Sunday night, Ellis and I had to go to the airport to pick up CPT Emery at midnight and got back to Arifjan at 0130. We were on standby all day waiting for the flight info. The don?t tell anyone when flights are leaving or coming until the last minute for security reasons. On the same flight, my boss, LTC(P) Taylor flew in along with one of the military judges (MJ) and the court reporting staff. Then we launched into two days of court?which just finished up today. The first day was two guilty pleas, and today was three arraignments. The MJ, Judge Brown, flew in from Germany to do court in theater for five weeks. It was another one of those bizarre experiences to see this little female Colonel behind the bench (actually a table) in her black robe with desert camo boots sticking out. It was also a strange thing to sit in court with people in the gallery holding a wide variety of weapons. I, myself, had a couple of knives. LTC Taylor?bec. he has spent so much time in the north refuses to ever take of his M9 9mm, even while down here in Kuwait. Gives me an idea in the differences to expect when I move. In Iraq, the MJ told me she wears her weapon on the bench. At the Abu proceedings, the MJ was highly guarded at all times by armed body guards?even deep within the green zone. Unlike the civilian world, a guilty plea under UCMJ is a significant event that usually last between 3 and 6 hours. It?s a bifurcated process. The first part of the process is called the providency inquiry. Here the MJ inquires of the Accused about each element of each specification and charge. In other words, the Accused has to admit the specific details about his or her crime before the guilty plea will be accepted. To aid in this, usually the government and defense and accused will agree on a stipulation of fact the contains the basic elements of the offenses. After the providency, you get to the sentencing phase. This is mini-trial, with the government putting on witnesses and offering evidence of aggravation, and the defense offering witnesses and evidence of mitigation and extenuation. A lot rides on this process bec. the MJ knows there is a deal, but he or she does not know the number of months (the quantum portion) of the deal until he/she hands down the sentence. If the MJ went higher than the deal, the Accused gets the benefit of the deal. If the MJ comes in with a lower number, then the Accused gets the benefit of the lower sentence. So as TDS, you try to minimize exposure by coming to a pretrial agreement with the Government, then you try beat the deal in the sentencing phase of the trial. It was good to finally meet LTC Taylor. He just came out on the O-6 list and is everything one would hope for in a rater in a combat zone (i.e. he has served 3 times at Bragg, has his jump master wings, and has been CJA to the Special Ops in Hawaii, and he seems to be an all round good guy). Someone recently wrote me and asked if I was going to work on Abu. It?s true that this job was originally billed as ?we need you bec. of Abu,? but as is so often the case with the Army, things change. As I was arriving in theater, the last of the Abu cases were being transferred to Hood. Such is the nature of service. While a high profile case would have been fun and rewarding, I think I am going to have a chance for a much broader experience and more actual court time without working on one of those cases. And who knows when the next high profile case will come along. I just want to be in court often and do a variety of cases and make a contribution to our efforts over here.


Sunday, 12-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

Quarters & Nickles in the Combat Zone
These are some pictures of Arijan. Camp Arifjan is a $200 million facility built courtesy of the Kuwaiti government and has literally risen out of the sand. The base was meant to be permanent support facilities for American troops in Kuwait and to replace our operations at Camp Doha, where Americans have operated since the Gulf War. The only problem is that Camp Arifjan filled up before Doha moved. Thus, we have the present situation where there's a Zone 1 with hard building, a real gym, real rooms, a real pool etc. and the much large Zone 2 that consists of tents. Compared to everything else in theater, Zone 1 is a pearl--a little America. I am "squatting" in the relative opulence of Zone 1. Camps are all over Kuwait. Immediately outside of Arifjan are two smaller camps, Camden Yards and Arlington Park.

PIC NOTES:

The picture of the of PX Quarters and Nickles is what they give us for change over here. Like it has been in Germany for ages, there are no pennies. Everything is rounded up or down. But here there is a new wrinkle. They give you some real change and some change in the form of these round POGS. They say "gift certificate" which is how they get around the whole legal tender thing I guess. On one side is printed the denomination and on the other are various military pictures.

In the view of my building you can see barriers. They around everything here. At about 6 foot tall, they are Jersey Barriers' big brother and are called, hilariously, Texas Barriers.

The green that you see in front of the building I work in is the only green around to speak of. Everything else is brown, like outside of my barracks. We give people directions to the office by saying, "Come to the building with the grass and the palm trees."

I love the picture of the soccer fields. Reminds me of my girls. I'm sure they'd love to play one game on that field. I wish they could.

You get an idea of the vastness of the messhall from this pic. You can take weapons in, but must clear them first in the barrel. You have to wash your hands. The messhall is decorated with pictures and letters from school kids. Hanging from the ceiling are the flags of all the U.S. states and territories. The menu rotates every couple weeks, but pretty much always tastes the same anyway. You get variety by going with burgers or cold cuts instead the main meals. Desserts are decent, but I don't want to get into that fat habit. The civilians eat here too. It's pretty funny--many of the civilians wear DCU's with a DoD or DA Civilian patch. There are no uniform standards, so they just look like very, very out of uniform soldiers. This one guy has a long grey hair and long beard. Just very out of character looking. Other subcontractors are just in civilian clothes.


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