Earlier this week, I wrote about a computer glitch that was keeping the public in the dark when it came to upcoming courts-martial. I’m happy to report the problem has been solved.
The courts-martial docket, found on the Judge Advocate General website, is up and running. The first names of the accused have also been restored; earlier this year, first names were replaced with first initials.
The docket is an important tool. The public — reporters such as myself included — can use it to stay up to date on Air Force prosecutions. When a case appears on the docket, it is often the first time the alleged crime is revealed publicly. That was the case earlier this year, when a technical sergeant at Fort Meade, Md., was accused of beating to death his 7-week-old son and severely injuring his infant daughter. The airman, James Sauk, was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and two counts of assault on his son.
Some of the services have made efforts at transparency within the criminal justice system, particularly as the military has come under fire from some lawmakers over its handling of sexual assault. For example, the Navy published the results of all courts-martial in the first six months of the year. The service said it plans to update the information.
The Air Force JAG website has a link to sexual assault information, which includes commentaries from judge advocates, prosecution information and information about the Air Force’s new special victims counsel, which provides attorneys to sex assault victims.