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

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Monday, 27-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
Camp Buehring and miscellaneous philosophic ramblings

The Road to Beuhring
"Audacity, audacity, always audacity."
(English translation of the French Proverb)
- General George Patton Jr's Favorite Saying

The op tempo here is killing me. But it does make time fly. One of the reasons that things here have been so crazy is because our cases are clustered into two or three day periods when an MJ is going to be in our AO (area of ops) to preside. The MJ, when she was here, set 27 December as the deadline for all motions, pleas etc. Since that time, we’ve been scrambling to meet that deadline. My philosophy in trying cases is to be aggressive. And for either that reason or bec. the cases are uniquely situated, the present cases have lots of motions assoc. with them, and we are pleading fewer of them—which hopefully translates to a couple jury trials at the end of the month and some good outcomes from those trials. Motions in crim law—not unlike civil—are fact dependent. But unlike civil cases, we don’t have the advantage of 12 months of depos. and discovery. Also, unlike civil practice, the attorney-client privilege almost never attaches to the witnesses, so we have the opportunity and right to speak ex parte with the witnesses and alleged victims. Often counsel on both sides relying on law enforcement investigations and kind of procrastinate on interviewing witnesses and developing the facts. I’ve found both as a prosecutor and now as TDS that the best thing one can do for your case is to interview everyone involved in the case, and you should do it early on. That way you know more about the case than the other side (and the story you find is often very, very different than what the “official� story is) and you get to lock-down the testimony early on (I almost always try to have my 27D or another witness present for rebuttal testimony if my witness changes his story). Anyway, that is probably way more than you wanted to know.

But as a result of this “philosophy,� we decided last night at about 1700 to try and find our way to Camp Buehring in the dark to interview witnesses for a suppression motion. We left, packing heat, as usual on what turned out to be quite the odyssey. The camp is north about an hour and 45 minutes. But to get there is a not very well marked turn into the desert. From there the instructions were to go about 12 miles on the hardball and turn right near a radio tower and go about 5 miles and you’ll find the camp. Well, we missed the first turn—and figured that out by arriving farther north back at Camp Navistar. I stopped at a guard tower somewhere in the dark on I-80 that had a Hummer parked outside. I went with my hand on my 9mm to the tower to find two Kuwaiti soldiers guarding I don’t know what. They spoke exactly two words of English which were “New York� New York is another camp somewhere in the middle of nowhere so I left there not much better off. Finally, we found the road. It was just a flat, flat road into the middle of nothing—no hills, no rocks, no plants—just blacktop and sand. We listened VOA interviewing people a few time zones away talking about the giant tsunami that had killed an estimated 11,000 (by tonight that number had risen to 53,000) and suddenly being up late didn’t seem like that big of deal. We got to the sprawling camp finally only to stumble around in the dark trying to find the unit. “Sir, I have no idea. It changes everyday. That barber trailer right there wasn’t there two weeks ago.� Got back to Arifjan at 0130.


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