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

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Monday, 31-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Iraqi Elections

Yesterday I woke up and ate breakfast while watching CNN World with thier pool of reporters scattered across Iraq. They were without exception breathlessly predicting great violence. They were hunkered down using only remote cameras at the time. They were like sharks trolling for blood in the water. It was really pathetic. I am pleased to say that--though there was some violence-- the elections were successful, and for the average soldier, it was just another day in Iraq. The turnout was actually larger than was expected. I hope that indicates to average American out there that the insurgents do not have a chokehold on the country.

Today was my last C-M of the term and my fourth in 5 days. The case involved a young soldier that essentially embezzled $6k from the Army finance office where he was employed. He hid the money in ceiling tiles above his head and even changed some of the bills into smaller more portable denominations. He was exposed to 10 years, but we were able to negotiate a 12 month deal. There were only three witnesses and the case only lasted about 4 hours--short even for a guilty plea. He received a 7 month sentence.

I have a few loose ends to tie up down here. Then later this week I fly to Tikrit. The MJ said to tell everyone back home that my next trial will be tried in one of Saddam's palaces.

Saturday, 29-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Another Day of Justice

Yesterday was a day off for the court and a day for me to catch my breath and start getting ready for the next one on Monday. Today, CPT Jason "the tool baby food" Gerber, one of my colleagues stationed in Taji, Iraq, had a larceny guilty plea. I made my client for monday's trial (also a larceny) sit through the entire case. That's generally a good idea when you can make it happen bec. it allows the soldier to see first hand what he is about to go through. They end up being much more comfortable that way and the case ends up with fewer glitches. The case today was interesting in a few respects. The accused was a Nigerian immigrant that had stolen a credit card number from her roommate and had used it about 65 times. The MJ took a recess for CPT Gerber to explain to his client the "additional" forfeiture that could occur by virtue of her plea--namely, that she could face additional hurtles to citizenship and possibly be forced to leave.

I spent the rest of the day trying to prep my guy to make his statement. These statements they make are important but require a lot of work. You're often taking a 20 year old kid that has never been in a court room before and putting him on the stand. If they aren't prepped right, they predictably get that deer in the headlights look and answer everything monosyllabicly. Or worse they totally leave the reservation and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Tomorrow, I'm going to Doha to prep witnesses for the case. Then will come back to work with my client again. Then we're on.

A navy officer, Kevin, wrote about me one his blog http://www.chinpokomon.com/ and said that I am "cagey" about the details of the courts-martial. He's right. I'd love to give all the details but there are a number of considerations at play--most importantly, the attorney-client privilege and the risk that saying "too much" about the gov't will hurt your client in post-trial actions.

Also, note that SPC Ellis, my 27D for another couple of days, has his blog up and running. http://kakijag.fotopages.com/

Saturday, 22-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

22 January 2005:

Yesterday was one those kind of blah, homesick days in which I got very little accomplished. Went for a hard run in the afternoon, but that didn’t shake it off. So I ate a steak and 3 lobster tails—still no dice. So I call home and talked for about 1.5 hours and that did the trick. I do miss home. Got back to the office that night to an e-mail from the CJA’s office that said I need to vacate my office by 1300 on Monday. Keep in mind, I have trial on Wednesday. They have not plan to find me another office—internet hookup etc. I’ve jacked around since I got here—moved from space to space and had three computers substituted one after another—each taking about a half day to get set up on the network. But enough is enough. The JAG Corps is set up logistically in a way that works in peacetime when there are enough resources to go around—the controlling regulation requires the government (i.e.—the prosecutorial side of the house) to logistically support TDS. But when there aren’t enough resources, we get treated like redheaded step children. For example, in this case, the TC in this building has a palatial office. Was there any discussion of his moving or consolidating his office with someone else? No. So enough of this rant. I’ll continue as the situation develops—but as of Monday afternoon, I am homeless again.
However, as I was walking to the get my laundry, I heard a negligent discharge. (I know the sound, I thought I was back home last night). My suspicion was confirmed in the MP blotter this morning—M240, grazed someone’s face. So my day was a lot better than some soldier’s.

This morning, I got up at 0645 to run the SGM’s Run-a-Muk run. It was pouring rain, but ran anyway. . . another t-shirt for the kids. Spent the afternoon prepping an expert and inspecting bootlegged alcohol at the evidence locker.

Thursday, 20-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
inauguration fat and trials

20 January 2005:

Working toward trial term next week. ‘nuff said. MJ keeps moving the dates—we now start on Wednesday. And will go from the 26th through the 31st. Saw the inauguration playing in the messhall tonight. Seem very far removed right now. Trying to keep running, hopefully all the way through trial term. Still tipping the scale at a fat 190.

Wednesday, 19-Jan-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

Here are some really spectacular photos of a Silver Strand Beach on KNB. Not a place where soldiers are allowed to hang out but too beautiful not photograph.

19 January 2005:

There is not in all of America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility.
--Theodore Roosevelt, Abilene, KS, May 2, 1903

Hey, three days have passed, and I can’t remember everything that’s happened in the interim. I know there was a shootout between the Kuwaitis and an alleged terrorist group on 7th Ring on Monday I think. That’s a road that I often travel. Then today I was returning to Arifjan and suddenly the gate shut down, soldiers slapped their magazines in their weapons and all the hajji truck drivers were forced to get out of their vehicles. I nonchalantly got out of our NTV (military speak for SUV—means Non-Tactical Vehicle) to see if I could get some intel. Apparently, some TCN guys had an ammo container on their truck and they were supposed to. The bomb dogs smelled explosives, so everything shut down while the truck was towed into the desert for a thorough search. I never heard anything else, so I guess all is well.

On a related note, my friend and colleague, CPT Robert Kincaid III, who works in the Baghdad Office was on his way through Kuwait—after attending JAOAC. He showed me some pictures of suicide bomber that had been taken out by a sniper with a .50 cal in Baghdad. Pretty amazing shot over one kilometer away. Basically, all that was left was a body with the bomb vest and pile of mush where the head used to be. For the first time since Vietnam, we have many snipers that have multiple kills. Just a couple days ago, there was a blurp in the Stars & Stripes about the longest confirmed kill—some guy took out two guys about 1.3 kms away that were mortaring one of our FOBs.

Basically, the last few days have been spent like the next several will be—on trial prep. Doing things like meeting with clients and making sure they will be provident to their plea. Calling parents of clients and sometimes telling them for the first time exactly what it is that their son did. Lovely stuff. Monday was a horrendous work day bec. for 12 hours before the web came back up to full speed, it was slogging along at about 14.4 kps. I felt like the whole day was going in slo mo. Tuesday was when CPT K showed up. He crashed in a spare bunk in my bay and we ran a couple of times. He’s a reservist too. Before mobilization, he lived and practiced in OKC—he’s done a little corporate defense and then went to plaintiffs’ work. He a big bald Scotch Irish guy that Ellis has dubbed the White Morpheus. He’s working one of the higher profile murder cases in Iraq but has done a fantastic job of keeping the media circus at bay (e.g. by not returning e-mails from Sam Donaldson). Ellis and I took him to A-pod this morning and dropped him off. They we swung by Doha and picked up CPT Dygert who is coming to Arifjan from Germany. He will fill the void when I go up north.

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