Law students, public invited to hear oral arguments before military appeals court
For the first time, The John Marshall Law School will host the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals for a Sept. 1 hearing in the case United States v. Alston. The 3:30 p.m. hearing in the law school's Baim Courtroom, is open to the public. The Army Court of Appeals routinely hears two cases each year at law schools outside of the Washington, D.C., area. This case is being held at John Marshall at the invitation of Lt. Col. Gene Baime, an associate judge on the three-judge appellate panel, who is an alumnus of the law school. The court is reviewing a sexual assault conviction. On May 30, 2008, an enlisted panel sitting as a general court-martial jury at Fort Riley, Kansas, convicted Specialist John Alston of aggravated sexual assault in violation of Article 120, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Originally charged with rape, Alston was convicted of the lesser included offense of aggravated sexual assault. The court-martial sentenced Alston to reduction to the grade of private, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 181 days, and separation from the service with a bad-conduct discharge. The case was automatically appealed to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. "The John Marshall Law School was delighted to be invited to host the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. This is a wonderful opportunity for students from all the Chicago area law schools to hear a military appeal argued," said Professor Ardath Hamann, director of John Marshall's Moot Court Program. Following the oral argument, members of the three-judge panel will hold an informal question and answer session on the military justice system. Members of the three-judge panel are Brigadier General Gill Beck, serving as chief judge; Col. Mark L. Johnson and Lt. Col. Baime, serving as associate judges. Arguing the case for the appellant will be Lt. Col. Jonathan Potter. The army will be represented by Capt. Jonathan P. Robell. Chief Judge Beck is a member of the Army Reserves and an assistant U.S. attorney serving as chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greensboro, N.C. Associate Judges Johnson and Baime have been members of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps since graduating from law school in 1990 and 1991 respectively. The advocates for the appellant and government are both members of the Army Reserves currently mobilized to active duty. In civilian practice, Potter is a litigation attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, and Robell is with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C.