AINSWORTH, Circuit Judge:
In this habeas corpus proceeding we review the conviction by military court-martial of Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., the principal accused in the My Lai incident in South Vietnam, where a large number of defenseless old men, women and children were systematically shot and killed by Calley and other
Petitioner Calley was charged on September 5, 1969, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., with the premeditated murder on March 16, 1968 of not less than 102 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai (4) hamlet, Song My village, Quang Ngai province, Republic of South Vietnam.
On February 11, 1974, Calley filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia against the Secretary of the Army and the Commanding General, Fort Benning, Georgia. At that time, the district court enjoined respondents from changing the place of Calley's custody or increasing the conditions of his confinement. On February 27, 1974, the district court ordered that Calley be released on bail pending his habeas corpus application.
I. Summary of the Facts
On March 16, 1968, in the small hamlet of My Lai, in South Vietnam, scores of unarmed, unresisting Vietnamese civilians were summarily executed by American soldiers. A number of American soldiers were charged
Lieutenant Calley was the 1st platoon leader in C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, and had been stationed in Vietnam since December of 1967. Prior to March 16, 1968, his unit had received little combat experience. On March 15, members of the unit were briefed that they were to engage the enemy in an offensive action in the area of My Lai (4). The troops were informed that the area had long been controlled by the Viet Cong, and that they could expect heavy resistance from a Viet Cong battalion which might outnumber them by more than two to one. The objective of the operation was to seize the hamlet and destroy all that could be useful to the enemy.
The attack began early in the morning of March 16. Calley's platoon was landed on the outskirts of My Lai after about five minutes of artillery and gunship fire. The assault met no resistance or hostile fire. After cautiously approaching My Lai (4), C Company discovered only unarmed, unresisting old men, women and children eating breakfast or beginning the day's chores although intelligence reports had indicated the villagers
Specification 1 of the first charge against Calley stemmed from events occurring at a collection point for civilians along a trail in the southern part of My Lai (4). This charge was also first in time of the charges against Calley. The remaining charges and specifications also followed in chronological sequence. The initial charge, with two specifications, related to two separate group killings at different locations. Private First Class Meadlo was guarding a group of between 30 and 40 unarmed old men, women and children at the trail location. Calley approached Meadlo and told him, "You know what to do," and left. Meadlo continued to stand guard over the villagers. Calley returned and yelled at Meadlo, "Why haven't you wasted them yet?" Meadlo replied that he thought Calley had meant merely to watch the villagers. Calley replied, "No, I mean kill them." First Calley and then Meadlo opened fire on the group, until all but a few children fell. Calley then personally shot the remaining children. In the process, Calley expended four or five magazines from his M-16 rifle. Calley was charged with the premeditated murder of not less than 30 human beings as a result of the killings at this location. Although numerous bodies, about 20, were shown at this point by photographs introduced in evidence, a pathologist testified that he could point to only one wound on one body which, in his opinion, was certain to have been instantly fatal. The court members found Calley guilty under this specification of the murder of not less than one human being.
After the killings along the trail at the southern edge of My Lai (4), Calley proceeded to the eastern portion of the hamlet. There, along an irrigation ditch, another and larger group of villagers was being held by soldiers. Meadlo estimated the group contained from 75 to 100 persons, consisting of old men, women and children. Calley then ordered Meadlo, stating: "We got another job to do, Meadlo." The platoon members with their weapons then began pushing these people into the ditch. They were yelling and crying as they knelt and squatted in the ditch. Calley ordered the start of firing into the people and he with Meadlo and others joined in the killing. Private First Class Dursi refused to follow Calley's order that he assist with the executions; he testified, "I couldn't go through with it. These little defenseless men, women, and kids." Specialist Fourth Class Maples refused Calley's request for Maples' machine gun to be used in the killing. A number of different groups of civilians were brought to the ditch, there to be slaughtered by the soldiers at point-blank range. A helicopter pilot landed his craft near the ditch, and had a discussion with Calley. The pilot was able to evacuate some of the villagers from the scene. After speaking to the pilot, Calley returned to the ditch and resumed the killing, stating, "I'm the boss here." In all, Calley supervised and participated in killings at the ditch for about forty-five minutes to an hour, and personally expended between 10 and 15 magazines of ammunition. Calley was charged with the murder of not less than 70 human beings at the ditch; the court members found him guilty of the murder of not less than 20 persons.
After the incident at the ditch, Calley and Specialist Fourth Class Sledge encountered a forty- to fifty-year-old man dressed in the white robes of a monk. After questioning the man whether he was a Viet Cong, Calley shot the man in the face, blowing half his head away. The court members found Calley guilty of the premeditated murder of one male human being, as charged.
Sledge stated he observed this from a distance of 20-30 feet. He testified one shot was fired by Calley at the child from a distance of 4 or 5 feet, but did not see whether it struck. Calley was charged with the premeditated murder of one human being approximately two years old; the court members found him guilty of assault with intent to commit murder on this charge. A total of two to four hours had elapsed between the time the attack on My Lai (4) began and the killing of the villagers was completed.
At trial and on appeal to the military courts, Calley's participation in most of the killings was conceded — those at both the trail and the ditch. Calley admitted ordering Meadlo to kill the villagers at the trail, and admitted that he fired into the people at the ditch with his gun's muzzle within 5 feet of the people kneeling or squatting there. He denied killing the monk, stating he merely "buttstroked" the man in the face with the butt of his rifle, and also denied killing the two-year-old child. The major emphasis of Calley's defense was that he was not legally responsible for the killings because there was an absence of malice on his part, that he thought he was performing his duty in the operation, having been ordered by Captain Medina to kill everyone in the village. Calley's principal defense, therefore, was his claim that the night before the attack on My Lai (4) and two times by radio while he was present in the village, he had received orders from Captain Medina to kill all villagers the soldiers encountered. Captain Medina, who was called as a witness at the request of the court members, stated that during the briefing on the night of March 15 he was asked by someone specifically whether women and children were to be killed. He testified that his answer was:
There was considerable dispute at the trial about this statement. Twenty of the 27 persons who were members of Calley's platoon on March 16 testified at trial, along with others who were presented at the briefing. Some stated that Medina's answer to the question was "Yes, it means women and children," while most of these witnesses, however, had no recollection of orders by Medina at the briefing to kill women and children. The findings of guilty of the court members resolved what was a classic jury issue.
Calley further claimed that he had received orders by radio directing him to dispose of the Vietnamese and get on to other duties during the day of March 16 while he was in My Lai (4). Calley's testimony in this regard was not substantiated by the two persons who acted as radio operators to Captain Medina on March 16. One of the operators stated he had no recollection either way regarding such orders. The other operator stated positively that no orders to kill or waste civilians went out over the unit radio to Calley. Moreover, even if Calley had received the orders as claimed, he would not necessarily have been exonerated. The military judge properly instructed that an order to kill unresisting Vietnamese would be an illegal order, and that if Calley knew the order was illegal or should have known it was illegal, obedience to an order was not a valid defense. Thus, the military jury could have found either that the alleged order to kill was not issued, or, if it was, that the order was not a defense
With this review of the facts, we turn to the issues on appeal. District Judge Elliott's extensive written opinion concluded that Calley was entitled to a writ of habeas corpus for four principal reasons: (1) prejudicial pretrial publicity concerning the My Lai incident and Calley's participation therein deprived him of an opportunity to receive a fair and impartial trial; (2) the military judge's failure to subpoena certain witnesses requested by the defense deprived Calley of his right of confrontation and compulsory process and deprived him of due process; (3) the refusal of the House of Representatives to release testimony to the defense taken in executive session in its My Lai investigation deprived Calley of due process; and (4) the Charges, Specifications and Bill of Particulars under which Calley was tried did not adequately notify him of the charges against him nor fully protect him against possible double jeopardy.
II. Scope of Review of Court-Martial Convictions
We must first consider the extent to which a federal court is empowered to review court-martial convictions on petitions for habeas corpus. The Government contends that the district court exercised an impermissibly broad scope of review of Calley's claims.
A brief historical outline is helpful to a determination of this question.
The jurisdictional test, however, was not limited to military habeas corpus cases, but extended also to criminal convictions in civil courts. Mr. Justice Hughes stated in In re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911) that "[t]he only question before us" in a habeas case is whether the court "had jurisdiction to try the issues and to render the judgment." Id. at 213, 31 S.Ct. at 143. In Knewel v. Egan, 268 U.S. 442, 45 S.Ct. 522, 69 L.Ed. 1036 (1925), the Court noted that habeas corpus was a means to determine whether a person "is restrained of his liberty by judgment of a court acting without jurisdiction." In reiterating that jurisdiction was the proper inquiry, the Court held that "the judgment of state courts in criminal cases will not be reviewed on habeas corpus merely because some right under the Constitution of the United States is alleged to have been denied to the person convicted." 268 U.S. at 447, 45 S.Ct. at 524-525. See also Harlan v. McGourin, 218 U.S. 442, 31 S.Ct. 44, 54 L.Ed. 1101 (1910); In re Moran, 203 U.S. 96, 27 S.Ct. 25, 51 L.Ed. 105 (1906); Dimmick v. Tompkins, 194 U.S. 540, 24 S.Ct. 780, 48 L.Ed. 1110 (1904); Storti v. Massachusetts, 183 U.S. 138, 22 S.Ct. 72, 46 L.Ed. 120 (1901). Thus, "[h]abeas corpus was, prior to World War II, a limited form of relief in both the civilian and the military areas, with the scope of inquiry limited to jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear a given case and render judgment. Procedural considerations — rulings on challenges, pleas, admissibility of evidence — as well as more substantial due process questions were not reviewable on collateral attack." Note, supra, 69 Colum.L.Rev. at 1259.
In the late 1930's, however, the Supreme Court first expanded and subsequently abandoned the jurisdiction rubric. The Court began to uphold habeas attacks on federal and state convictions obtained in violation of federal constitutional rights even where the courts possessed jurisdiction in the traditional sense. In Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 58 S.Ct. 1019, 82 L.Ed. 1461 (1938), the Court held that jurisdiction, though present at the beginning of the trial, was "lost" in the course of the trial by the failure to provide counsel for the accused. The Court said that a violation of the Sixth Amendment "stands as a jurisdictional bar to a valid conviction and sentence . . .." 304 U.S. at 468, 58 S.Ct. at 1024 (emphasis added). Johnson altered the prior rule — while jurisdiction was still nominally the test, the meaning of jurisdiction was expanded to include due process defects in trial proceedings. Four years later, the Supreme Court finally discarded the jurisdiction test, and in Waley v. Johnston, 316 U.S. 101, 62 S.Ct. 964, 86 L.Ed. 1302 (1942), explicitly stated that jurisdiction alone was no longer the sole consideration.
World War II provided an important impetus for federal courts to broaden habeas corpus review of military cases. When millions of persons suddenly became subject to military justice, greater concern seemed essential. As Chief Justice Warren said in this regard, "When the authority of the military has such a sweeping capacity for affecting the lives of our citizenry, the wisdom of treating the military establishment as an enclave beyond the reach of the civilian courts almost inevitably is drawn into question." Warren, supra, 37 N.Y.U.L.Rev. at 188. See also Generous, Swords and Scales: The Development of the Uniform Code of Military Justice 14-15, 167-169 (1973). Military law thus had a breadth and impact not previously possessed, requiring greater supervision over the actions of courts-martial.
Thus, federal courts, having expanded collateral attack in civilian habeas corpus cases, were confronted with new pleas by military defendants that the courts give cognizance to allegations that their convictions were invalid by virtue of constitutional, if not jurisdictional, deficiencies.
Burns v. Wilson
The petitioners in Burns had been found guilty of rape and murder and sentenced to death by court-martial. Burns alleged in his habeas petition several deprivations of constitutional rights, contending that the military had coerced his confession, suppressed evidence favorable to him, denied him effective counsel, detained him illegally and created an atmosphere of terror and vengeance not conducive to a fair decision. See 346 U.S. at 138, 73 S.Ct. at 1047. The court of appeals affirmed denial of the writs, but only after a detailed review of the facts and the court-martial transcripts. Burns v. Lovett, 1952, 91 U.S.App.D.C. 208, 202 F.2d 335.
The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of habeas corpus relief, but stated that the circuit court had "erred in reweighing each item of relevant evidence in the trial record . . .." 346 U.S. at 146, 73 S.Ct. at 1051. A plurality of the court
Id. (emphasis added).
Burns thus announced a scope of review in military habeas cases broader than the old jurisdictional test, but narrower than that in state and federal habeas cases. Federal courts have interpreted Burns with considerable disagreement.
Determining the Proper Scope of Review
The cited cases establish the power of federal courts to review court-martial convictions to determine whether the military acted within its proper jurisdictional sphere. We are more concerned here, however, with the extent to which federal courts may review the validity of claims that errors in the military trial deprived the accused of due process of law, when the military courts have previously considered and rejected the same contentions. We conclude from an extensive research of the case law that the power of federal courts to review military convictions of a habeas petition depends on the nature of the issues raised, and in this determination, four principal inquiries are necessary.
1. The asserted error must be of substantial constitutional dimension. The first inquiry is whether the claim of error is one of constitutional significance, or so fundamental as to have resulted in a miscarriage of justice. Most courts which have interpreted Burns to allow review of nonjurisdictional claims have given cognizance only to assertions that fundamental constitutional rights were violated.
Most habeas corpus cases have provided relief only where it has been established that errors of constitutional dimension have occurred. But the Supreme Court held in a recent decision that nonconstitutional errors of law can be raised in habeas corpus proceedings where "the claimed error of law was `a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice,'" and when the alleged error of law "`present[ed] exceptional circumstances where the need for the remedy afforded by the writ of habeas corpus is apparent.'" Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 346, 94 S.Ct. 2298, 2305, 41 L.Ed.2d 109 (1974), quoting Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428, 82 S.Ct. 468, 471, 7 L.Ed.2d 417 (1962). Thus, an essential prerequisite of any court-martial error we are asked to review is that it present a substantial claim of constitutional dimension,
2. The issue must be one of law rather than of disputed fact already determined by the military tribunals. The second inquiry is whether the issue raised is basically a legal question, or whether resolution of the issue hinges on disputed issues of fact. This circuit said in Gibbs v. Blackwell, 5 Cir., 1965, 354 F.2d 469, 471, that "In reviewing military convictions, the courts must be on guard that they do not fail to perceive the difference between reviewing questions of fact and law. This is especially true at the constitutional level." Compare Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 94 S.Ct. 2547, 41 L.Ed.2d 439 (1974), where the review of matters resolved against a serviceman "on a factual basis by the court-martial which convicted him" was held to be beyond the proper scope of review. Id. at 760-761, 94 S.Ct. at 2564. The Court of Claims has noted that abstinence from reviewing court-martial proceedings need not necessarily be practiced "where the serviceman presents pure issues of constitutional law, unentangled with an appraisal of a special set of facts." Shaw v. United States, 1966, 357 F.2d 949, 953-954, 174 Ct.Cl. 899.
3. Military considerations may warrant different treatment of constitutional claims. The third inquiry is whether factors peculiar to the military or important military considerations require a different constitutional standard. Where a serviceman's assertion of constitutional rights has been determined by military tribunals, and they have concluded that the serviceman's position, if accepted, would have a foreseeable adverse effect on the military mission, federal courts should not substitute their
Id. at 746, 95 S.Ct. at 1307. See also Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 758, 94 S.Ct. 2547, 2563, 41 L.Ed.2d 439 (1974), where the Court noted that "[t]he fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it." The Supreme Court in Burns emphasized that "the rights of men in the armed forces must perforce be conditioned to meet certain overriding demands of discipline and duty, and the civil courts are not the agencies which must determine the precise balance to be struck in this adjustment." 346 U.S. at 140, 73 S.Ct. at 1048.
There are other reasons why federal courts should not intervene in basically military matters. Congress, with its power to create and maintain the armed forces and to declare war, and the President, with his power as Commander-in-Chief, have great powers and responsibilities in military affairs.
4. The military courts must give adequate consideration to the issues involved and apply proper legal standards. The fourth and final inquiry is whether the military courts have given adequate consideration to the issue raised in the habeas corpus proceeding, applying the proper legal standard to the issue. Decisions by reviewing courts within the military justice system must be given a healthy respect, particularly where the issue involves a determination of disputed issues of fact. But a necessary prerequisite is that the military courts apply a proper legal standard to disputed factual claims. See S. E. C. v. Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80, 94, 63 S.Ct. 454, 462, 87 L.Ed. 626 (1943). Burns requires that particular respect be given military decisions: "In military habeas corpus cases, even more than in state habeas corpus cases, it would be in disregard of the statutory scheme if the federal civil courts failed to take account of the prior proceedings—of the fair determinations of the military tribunals after all military remedies have been exhausted." 346 U.S. at 142, 73 S.Ct. at 1048-1049.
To summarize, the scope of review may be stated as follows:
Military court-martial convictions are subject to collateral review by federal civil courts on petitions for writs of habeas corpus where it is asserted that the court-martial acted without jurisdiction, or that substantial constitutional rights have been violated, or that exceptional circumstances have been presented which are so fundamentally defective as to result in a miscarriage of justice. Consideration by the military of such issues will not preclude judicial review for the military must accord to its personnel the protections of basic constitutional rights essential to a fair trial and the guarantee of due process of law. The scope of review for violations of constitutional rights, however, is more narrow than in civil cases. Thus federal courts should differentiate between questions of fact and law and review only questions of law which present substantial constitutional issues. Accordingly, they may not retry the facts or reevaluate the evidence, their function in this regard being limited to determining whether the military has fully and fairly considered contested factual issues. Moreover, military law is a jurisprudence which exists separate and apart from the law governing civilian society so that what is permissible within the military may be constitutionally impermissible outside it. Therefore, when the military courts have determined that factors peculiar to the military require a different application of constitutional standards, federal courts are reluctant to set aside such decisions.
With these principles in mind, we consider the additional issues raised by this appeal.
III. Pretrial Publicity
Neither side disputes the magnitude of the publicity which surrounded this case:
In the past two and one-half decades, the Supreme Court has handed down a number of decisions discussing and balancing the conflicts created when there exists the possibility that the press may have jeopardized the important right of a defendant to a fair trial.
The Supreme Court has noted that generalizations are not helpful, and that "each case must turn on its special facts." Marshall v. United States, 360 U.S. 310, 312, 79 S.Ct. 1171, 1173, 3 L.Ed.2d 1250 (1959); see United States v. Schrimsher, 5 Cir., 1974, 493 F.2d 848, 854; Gordon v. United States, 5 Cir., 1971, 438 F.2d 858, 873, cert. denied, 404 U.S. 828, 92 S.Ct. 139, 30 L.Ed.2d 77; Hale v. United States, 5 Cir., 1970, 435 F.2d 737, 746, cert. denied, 402 U.S. 976, 91 S.Ct. 1680, 29 L.Ed.2d 142 (1971). Additionally, we must review the merits of the prejudicial publicity claim. Sheppard v. Maxwell, supra, 384 U.S. at 362, 86 S.Ct. at 1522; Irvin v. Dowd, supra, 366 U.S. at 723, 81 S.Ct. at 1643; Hale v. United States, supra, 435 F.2d at 746; Gawne v. United States, 9 Cir., 1969, 409 F.2d 1399, 1401, cert. denied, 397 U.S. 943, 90 S.Ct. 956, 25 L.Ed.2d 123 (1970); Margoles v. United States, 7 Cir., 1969, 407 F.2d 727, 730-731, cert. denied, 396 U.S. 833, 90 S.Ct. 89, 24 L.Ed.2d 84.
The Merits of the Pretrial Publicity Issue
There is no contention here that publicity has been a driving force behind the securing of an indictment—that publicity has initiated the prosecution.
A. The District Court's View
The district judge concluded that Calley had been persecuted and pilloried by news media so intent on making prejudicial revelations about the incident that Calley's right to a fair and unbiased hearing was impossible. The court's review led it to conclude that the publicity was clearly improper, largely biased and undoubtedly prejudicial.
B. Inherent Prejudice
The district court emphasized that the case involved "massive" and "intense" publicity. Yet this court has noted previously that "[w]e cannot accept the position that `prominence brings prejudice.'" Hale v. United States, supra, 435 F.2d at 747. Moreover, no court has held that the only impartial juror is an uninformed one. We cannot expect jurors to live in isolation from the events and news of concern to the community in which they live.
Irvin v. Dowd, supra, 366 U.S. at 722-723, 81 S.Ct. at 1642-1643.
Our review discloses that some of the publicity is favorable to Lieutenant Calley. The record discloses reports of rallies in his behalf, campaigns to have the Army drop charges against him, and efforts to raise funds for his defense. One newspaper clipping describes Calley's appearance before cheering American Legionnaires at Columbus, Georgia, to receive a contribution to defray the costs of his defense. The clippings substantiate the observation of the Court of Military Review that at the situs of the court-martial, Fort Benning and neighboring Columbus, Georgia, "there were indications that the climate was somewhat favorable to Lieutenant Calley." At the very least, these reports indicate that, unlike the situation in Sheppard v. Maxwell, Calley was not being tried in an atmosphere of hostility and persecution. Also ignored by the lower court was the fact that a good deal of the extensive publicity surrounding the incident did not contain virulent and oppressive attacks on Calley, but rather objective statements of the facts known and discovered about the My Lai incident or the more general topic of the conduct of the war in Vietnam. A prejudicial publicity claim must be viewed differently when the news accounts complained of are "straight news stories rather than invidious articles which would tend to arouse ill will and vindictiveness." Beck v. Washington, 369 U.S. 541, 556, 82 S.Ct. 955, 963, 8 L.Ed.2d 98 (1962); see Gordon v. United States, 5 Cir., 1971, 438 F.2d 858, 873 & n. 48. We cannot, therefore, agree with the district judge that the total effect of the publicity in this case "was to convict the Petitioner as surely as if he had confessed on the television screen." 382 F.Supp. at 683.
The effect of the publicity on the American public in general is of course uncertain, but material contained in the record belies the district court's conclusion that anyone familiar with the news reports surrounding the My Lai massacre would automatically convict Calley. Time magazine was severely castigated by him for its role in the publicity. But a survey conducted for and published by Time in the first week of January 1970 (when the publicity was at its peak) reached the conclusion that there was "considerable sympathy" for Lieutenant Calley among the people interviewed. "By a margin of 55 percent to 23 percent, they believe Calley is being made a scapegoat by the Government"; also, that most people were disturbed over the publicity given the alleged massacre. Sixty-seven percent of those polled "believe that the press and TV should not have reported statements by soldiers involved prior to a trial." The results of a Harris Poll published January 8, 1970 showed that 66 per cent of the public felt that soldiers killing even civilians should not be court-martialed if they did so under orders. These polls and figures are, of course, not directly relevant to a determination of whether the panel which ultimately convicted Calley was influenced by such publicity. We mention the above material only to emphasize that the district judge overlooked important aspects of the record in reaching his conclusions, and to note that there appears to have been no single sentiment regarding the case held by a vast segment of the American public.
The critical issue is the actual or probable effect of the pretrial publicity on the trial itself and, more precisely, on those who sat in judgment of Calley. A careful review of the exhaustive voir dire conducted at trial indicates that there is no likelihood that pretrial publicity prejudiced Lieutenant Calley such as to deny him a fair trial. An important
On the other hand, four prospective court members were dismissed from the panel because they held views so sympathetic to Lieutenant Calley that they could not objectively judge the case. Major Ehrhardt, a prospective court member, had expressed the firm opinion that the Government had been wrong in bringing charges against Calley.
Of the court members selected, none stated that he had formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Calley. All court members stated that their decision would not be influenced by any of the publicity with which they had been in contact. The district judge dismissed these statements, made under oath and after extensive questioning by all parties, as being largely meaningless. See 382 F.Supp. at 685. Given the presumption that court members will be impartial, we think the district court should not have dismissed these statements so
Two factors in particular give support to the credibility of the court members' claims that they would reach a verdict unimpressed by pretrial publicity. The first is the long period of time between the peak of the publicity and the beginning of the trial. The publicity surrounding My Lai and Calley's trial was at its peak during November and December of 1969 and January of 1970. Very little new information was thereafter brought to light, and the publicity subsided substantially.
The second reason to credit the court members' statements is that they were the product of searching and sensitively conducted voir dire. The military judge conducted the voir dire in accordance with the recommendations of the American Bar Association Project on Standards for Criminal Justice, Standards Relating to Fair Trial and Free
There are other reasons why this is not a case that has close parallels
C. Actual Prejudice
We have also reviewed the contention that actual, isolatable prejudice due to publicity has been demonstrated. Defense counsel challenged court member Colonel Ford for cause on the basis of "exposure to news accounts which, in my mind, cannot be erased from his mind and it would substantially influence him on the findings." Tr. at 585. Yet Colonel Ford had received orders almost a year prior to trial, on November 26, 1969, to refrain from any exposure to news accounts regarding the My Lai incident.
Captain Brown, a court member, was challenged for cause by the defense "merely on the basis of the information he's heard from outside sources, such as, periodicals, news media and those others." Brown stated that though he had been in contact with some publicity, nothing had made any lasting impression on him. He stated that he had heard about the incident on radio and TV, "but since then, since the initial outbreak on it, I haven't paid any attention to it." He stated that he would make his decision in the case based solely on the evidence presented in the courtroom. Captain Brown had expressed no prior opinion on the circumstances surrounding the prosecution of Calley. Although he had heard only indirectly of comments on the case by the President and others, he stated that this would not affect or influence him. We believe the military trial judge did not err in refusing to grant the defense challenge.
The court member of most concern to the district judge was Major McIntosh. McIntosh had been exposed to magazine and newspaper accounts, and had seen some of the daily TV news reports. He stated that he had been unaffected by this exposure. Major McIntosh stated that he had seen Captain Medina on television, and that Medina had seemed credible. We have quoted this entire exchange between Major McIntosh and defense counsel on this subject below.
D. Control of the Media by the Military Court
Throughout the district court opinion, it is stated that because the military judge "could not control the witnesses nor the news media," 382 F.Supp. at 691, the court was unable to preserve Calley's right to a fair trial. See Id. at 657-658, 682-683, 691-692. But "there could be no constitutional infirmity in [the trial court's] rulings if petitioner actually received a trial by an impartial jury." Beck v. Washington, supra, 369 U.S. at 556, 82 S.Ct. at 963.
It is not disputed that the military court used most of the means suggested by Sheppard v. Maxwell to ameliorate potential prejudice stemming from publicity. The court delayed the proceedings to allow publicity to abate, it allowed extensive voir dire examination to probe for any possible influence on the court members by the publicity. The court successfully took great pains to insure that no publicity reached the court members during the trial.
United States v. Calley, 19 U.S.C.M.A. 96, 41 C.M.R. 96 (Memorandum opinion December 2, 1969).
In all likelihood it would have been unconstitutional for the court to grant the defense request. In United States v. Dickinson, 5 Cir., 1972, 465 F.2d 496, cert. denied, 414 U.S. 979, 94 S.Ct. 270, 38 L.Ed.2d 223 (1973), this court undertook a lengthy analysis of the "civil libertarian's nightmare"—the prospect that a free press could destroy the right to a fair trial. We noted the general reluctance to expand the courts' power over the reporting of trials, and said that any control over the "content of news reports" would create "grave reservations whether such a limitation could be promulgated without making impermissibly serious inroads into the purview of the First Amendment." 465 F.2d at 506. In Times-Picayune Publishing Corp. v. Schulingkamp, 419 U.S. 1301, 95 S.Ct. 1, 42 L.Ed.2d 17 (1974), a Louisiana state court entered an order barring the publication of certain information concerning the trial of a black defendant for the rape-murder of a white girl. The restrictions were "aimed at the content of news reporting," 419 U.S. at 1306, 95 S.Ct. at 4, and included bans on publishing interviews with witnesses or any possible confessions or inculpatory statements. Mr. Justice Powell, as Circuit Justice, wrote:
419 U.S. at 1307, 95 S.Ct. at 4. Justice Powell doubted that the order "would withstand the limitations that this Court has applied in determining the propriety of prior restraints on publication," 419 U.S. at 1308, 95 S.Ct. at 5, and stayed the order to the extent it imposed direct limitations on media reporting.
The military court should not be criticized for refusing to do what was in all probability constitutionally impermissible—controlling or imposing prior restraints on the news media. See New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 714, 91 S.Ct. 2140, 2141, 29 L.Ed.2d 822 (1971); Organization for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415, 419, 91 S.Ct. 1575, 1577, 29 L.Ed.2d 1 (1971). The three most important reports on the free press-fair trial dilemma have all stated that courts should avoid direct influence over the newsmen's domain while protecting defendants' rights to a fair trial.
We conclude, therefore, that petitioner Calley was not deprived of a fair trial by prejudicial pretrial publicity.
IV. Compulsory Process
Prior to trial, defense counsel sought unsuccessfully to have subpoenaed the following persons: Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor, and Chief of Staff of the Army William Westmoreland. The defense stated that these individuals were essential to establish Calley's defense that all charges against him should be dismissed because "command influence and control had permeated the processing of the charges against the Petitioner."
The Court of Military Appeals has said that "In the nature of things, command control is scarcely ever apparent on the face of the record. . . ." United States v. DuBay, 17 U.S.C.M.A. 147, 149, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967). Nonetheless, the Court has held that it is a "cardinal principle of military law" that the specter of command influence should not invade the decision of a military court. United States v. Whitley, 5 U.S.C.M.A. 786, 791, 19 C.M.R. 82 (1955). This has led the Court of Military Appeals consistently to hold that "any circumstance which gives even the appearance of improperly influencing the court-martial proceedings against the accused must be condemned." United States v. Hawthorne, 7 U.S.C.M.A. 293, 297, 22 C.M.R. 83 (1956). Thus, even in the absence of specific regulations or statutes, the Court has set aside convictions where the proceeding has even the appearance of being tainted by improper command influence. See United States v. Hedges, 11 U.S.C.M.A. 642, 29 C.M.R. 458 (1960); Generous, supra, at 84-85; cf. United States v. Walters, 4 U.S.C.M.A. 617, 630, 6 C.M.R. 191 (1954). As Dr. Generous has noted, "Whenever that court [the Court of Military Appeals] even suspects command tampering, it reverses." Generous, supra, at 200.
Most charges of command influence relate to attempts by superior officers to influence the court's decision as to the guilt or innocence and punishment of the accused.
Calley's accusations that command influence was involved in bringing charges against him, and that he was being singled out as the Army's scapegoat, were based on speculations to this effect in news articles. The military prosecutor objected that such unconfirmed reports were an insufficient basis either for issuing subpoenas or for requiring the Government to come forward with proof rebutting the allegations. The military judge ruled, however, that since the issue of command influence had been raised, the prosecution was required to meet the issue.
The Government subsequently called a number of witnesses: Colonel Lathrop, the staff judge advocate; Lieutenant Colonel Vincent and Captain Hill, who formally accused Calley of the charges subsequently lodged against him; Lieutenant Colonel Garrison, who had forwarded the charges with a recommendation of general court-martial; Lieutenant Colonel Cameron, who was directed to conduct an impartial Art. 32 investigation
In sum, the military courts' findings conclusively demonstrate that there was no colorable showing that any of the officers involved in processing charges against Calley were influenced either directly or indirectly by command pressure in their disposition of the case.
46 C.M.R. at 1154.
The rule governing the issuance of subpoenas under military law, paragraph 115a of the Manual for Courts-Martial (Rev. ed. 1969),
Welsh v. United States, 5 Cir., 1968, 404 F.2d 414, 417-418, quoting Greenwell v. United States, 1963, 115 U.S.App.D.C. 44, 317 F.2d 108, 110 (emphasis added). For cases following the rule in Welsh, see, e. g., United States v. Joyner, 5 Cir., 1974, 494 F.2d 501, 507, cert. denied, 419 U.S. 995, 95 S.Ct. 308, 42 L.Ed.2d 268; United States v. Romano, 5 Cir., 1973, 482 F.2d 1183, 1195, cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1129, 94 S.Ct. 866, 38 L.Ed.2d 753; United States v. Moudy, 5 Cir., 1972, 462 F.2d 694, 697-698; United States v. Hathcock, 5 Cir., 1971, 441 F.2d 197, 199-200. Cf. United States v. Smith, 5 Cir., 1971, 436 F.2d 787, 790, cert. denied, 402 U.S. 976, 91 S.Ct. 1680, 29 L.Ed.2d 142, where we noted that a defendant's statements in an application to subpoena a witness do not "require the court to accept what is said in the application as gospel and forbid resorting to other sources to test the veracity of the averments."
Under our previous cases, it is clear that if the prosecution successfully shows to be untrue the allegations upon which a request for the subpoenaing of a witness is based, there is no statutory or constitutional infirmity in the refusal to subpoena such witnesses. The military judge conducted an extensive hearing on Calley's contentions. He found there was no evidence to support the accusations of command influence. The defense was then forced to take the position that, although no one at Fort Benning was pressured into bringing charges as a result of command influence, General Westmoreland, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army might nonetheless state, if called as witnesses, that they had in fact wielded such pressure. We hold that the conclusions of the military judge, which were fully and fairly considered and reaffirmed by the Court of Military Review, amply support the decision not to subpoena the witnesses in question.
In holding to the contrary, the district court exceeded the proper scope of review, and completely disregarded the finding of the military judge and the Court of Military Review that there was no factual basis for the allegations upon which the subpoena requests were premised. The district judge instead conducted his own review of the testimony presented to the military court, and concluded that there was improper influence and that the requested witnesses were necessary to Calley's defense. See 382 F.Supp. at 695 & n. 31, 696, 697 & nn. 35 and 36, 699. In our previous discussion of the scope of review, we have shown that it is erroneous for federal courts to "reweigh[ ] each item of relevant evidence in the trial record. . . ." Burns v. Wilson, 346 U.S. at 146, 73 S.Ct. at 1051. Burns and its progeny require at a minimum that findings on disputed factual issues be adhered to where, as here, the issues have been "fully and fairly considered." See, e. g., Parker v. Levy, supra, where the Court stated that factual determinations adverse to a petitioner could not be relitigated in habeas corpus proceedings and thus were beyond the proper scope of review. 417 U.S. at 760-761, 94 S.Ct. at 2564. As we held, supra, where a particular
There is another important factor. After denying the request to subpoena Laird, Resor and Westmoreland, the military judge left open the possibility of granting the defense request. The military judge suggested that defense counsel attempt to obtain information from those persons about what their testimony might be, because defense counsel had conceded that he knew of no instance in which the individuals had been contacted personally regarding this matter. Defense counsel stipulated that he would make personal inquiries to the three individuals, and return subsequently with an offer of additional proof to justify granting the subpoenas should he develop any new information.
The Failure to Subpoena John Tunstal
The district court also held that petitioner was deprived of his right to compulsory process by the military court's failure to subpoena John Tunstal to testify on Calley's behalf. The defense represented that Tunstal would testify that prior to March 16, 1968, prosecution witness Dennis Conti had been reprimanded or disciplined by petitioner for a sexual assault on a Vietnamese woman. This was claimed to support the defense contention that Conti was biased or prejudiced against Calley. But under questioning from the military judge, defense counsel acknowledged that this alleged incident occurred prior to My Lai, that Tunstal's previous statements had never indicated his knowledge of any such incident, that Tunstal had not even indicated whether Calley was present at or aware of the assault, and that Tunstal did not even indicate that
V. Discovery of Congressional Testimony
After the charges had been made against Calley and others, and national attention had been directed to the Army's handling of the case, Chairman L. Mendel Rivers of the House Armed Services Committee appointed an investigating subcommittee to make "a completely independent assessment of the case," to be in charge of Congressman F. Edward Hebert. During its investigation, the subcommittee interviewed 152 witnesses, held 16 days of hearings, took 1,812 pages of sworn testimony, and examined hundreds of documents. In addition, the subcommittee took 3,045 pages of statements from witnesses, and conducted its own field investigation in Vietnam. Prior to commencing formal hearings, Congressman Hebert wrote Chairman Rivers a letter outlining the subcommittee's intended areas of study, and said:
Report of the Armed Services Investigating Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Investigation of the My Lai Incident, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 3 (Comm.Print, July 15, 1970) [hereinafter cited as Hebert Report].
After the publication of the subcommittee report, the defense moved to
The nature and extent of discovery allowed a defendant in a criminal case is relevant to the issue of whether due process requirements have gone unmet by the inability of the defense to obtain certain requested material. See United States v. Ross, 5 Cir., 1975, 511 F.2d 757, 763. Those tried before courts-martial have a substantial procedural advantage over civilian defendants in that Article 46 of the U.C.M.J., 10 U.S.C. § 846, provides that the prosecution and the defense "shall have equal opportunity to obtain witnesses and other evidence. . . ." See Moyer, Procedural Rights of the Military Accused: Advantages over a Civilian Defendant, 22 Maine L.Rev. 105 (1970). Thus, prior to the trial of this case, the defense enjoyed extensive discovery. Pursuant to the "equal discovery" requirement of military law, the defense obtained all testimony and statements gathered by Army investigators inquiring into the case under
In the leading case of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), the Supreme Court held that "the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." 373 U.S. at 87, 83 S.Ct. at 1196-1197. Brady requires the disclosure of material evidence favorable in the sense of mitigation or exculpation, and also requires the prosecution to disclose evidence important and useful for impeachment purposes. See Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104 (1972). Thus the principles of Brady do not apply unless the evidence is material to mitigation, exculpation or impeachment. United States v. Hildebrand, 5 Cir., 1974, 506 F.2d 406, 409.
The materiality requirement of Brady and subsequent cases is important here, for not every piece of evidence potentially useful to the defense need be disclosed. In Ross v. Texas, 5 Cir., 1973, 474 F.2d 1150, cert. denied, 414 U.S. 850, 94 S.Ct. 141, 38 L.Ed.2d 98, we rejected the suggestion that Brady encompasses all material which might have led a jury to entertain a reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilt. We have instead held that before the nondisclosure of evidence reaches a level of constitutional significance, the evidence must be "crucial, critical, highly significant. . . ." Luna v. Beto, 5 Cir., 1968, 395 F.2d 35, 41 (en banc) (Brown, C. J., concurring, joined by a majority of the court). See
While the testimony in question was assertedly needed for adequate cross-examination, this was not an instance where the "estimate of the truthfulness and reliability of a given witness may well be determinative of guilt or innocence. . . ." Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 269, 79 S.Ct. 1173, 1177, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217 (1959); see Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104 (1972). In Napue and Giglio, convictions were reversed for the failure to provide the defense with certain information critical to the credibility of a key prosecution witness. More generally, when Brady is invoked to obtain information not favorable on the issue of guilt or innocence but useful for attacking the credibility of a prosecution witness, the information withheld must have a definite impact on the credibility of an important prosecution witness in order for the nondisclosure to require reversal. See, e. g., United States v. Tashman, 5 Cir., 1973, 478 F.2d 129 (nondisclosure of plea bargaining session pertaining to defendant-turned-witness whose testimony was critically important); Flanagan v. Henderson, 5 Cir., 1974, 496 F.2d 1274 (withholding of rape prosecutrix's original affidavit charging another person with crime); United States v. Deutsch, 5 Cir., 1973, 475 F.2d 55 (failure to turn over to defense personnel file of witness who "was the government's whole case"); United States v. Hibler, 9 Cir., 1972, 463 F.2d 455 (nondisclosure of evidence refuting uncorroborated testimony of key accomplice-witness); Powell v. Wiman, 5 Cir., 1961, 287 F.2d 275 (nondisclosure of psychological background of key witness); cf. Evans v. Janing, 8 Cir., 1973, 489 F.2d 470 (reversal not required where no significant chance undisclosed evidence would have induced reasonable doubt in jurors' minds).
The defense has not made the necessary showing of materiality in this case. The defense apparently concedes that there is not even a reasonable possibility that any of the evidence would be exculpatory, since it argues only that the requested testimony was essential for impeachment purposes. It is contended that it "was impossible for the defense to question" the witnesses' truth or veracity without access to the prior testimony. This assertion overlooks or ignores the fact that the defense had numerous statements available for the cross-examination of every witness in question. This fact forces the defense to make the extremely speculative assertion that the "statements made to the Subcommittee cannot be equated to other statements [possessed by the defense]" because "there is a greater chance a witness would tell the `truth' at a Congressional hearing. . . ." We find this argument unpersuasive. Moreover, a number of the witnesses in question did not provide testimony essential to the prosecution's case. The Court of Military Review noted that "[t]hose witnesses who testified before the investigating subcommittee and at trial did not present the heart of the Government's case." 46 C.M.R. at 1195. For example, witnesses Colburn, Hodde, Lagunoy and Culverhouse testified regarding the killings that occurred in My Lai. Calley's position at trial was not to refute the assertion that the killings occurred and that he participated in them, but rather
An additional factor is relevant to our conclusion that there was no Brady due process problem in this case. The testimony in question was never available to the prosecution, which not only did not benefit from the information, but was not responsible for its nonproduction. This fact distinguishes the present case from other Brady cases, because the defense contention in the present case is that Brady or the Due Process Clause entitles the defense to obtain evidence unavailable to the prosecution and beyond the power of the prosecution to obtain.
The holding of the Brady case, quoted supra, is that "the suppression by the prosecution" of certain kinds of evidence violates due process. The basic import of Brady is not that there is an abstract right on the part of the defendant to obtain all evidence possibly helpful to his case, but rather that there is an obligation on the part of the prosecution to produce certain evidence actually or constructively in its possession or accessible to it in the interests of inherent fairness. As we stated most recently in United States v. Ramirez, 5 Cir., 1975, 513 F.2d 72, 78, Brady "rests upon an abhorrence of the concealment of material arguing for innocence by one arguing for guilt." 513 F.2d at 78. The Supreme Court's most recent discussion of Brady is in Moore v. Illinois, 408 U.S. 786, 92 S.Ct. 2562, 33 L.Ed.2d 706 (1972). There, the Court stated that "[t]he heart of the holding in Brady is the prosecution's suppression of evidence, in the face of a defense production request. . . ." (Emphasis added.) The Court then noted that prosecutorial suppression of evidence is one of the three elements of a Brady violation. 408 U.S. at 794-795, 92 S.Ct. at 2568.
The defense also invoked the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500, in its attempt to obtain the congressional testimony of prosecution witnesses. The Jencks Act provides that after a witness "called by the United States" has given testimony, the "United States" must produce to the defense any prior statement of the witness "in the possession of the United States" relevant to the subject matter of the witness' testimony. 18 U.S.C. § 3500(b). If such statements are not provided, the trial court may strike the testimony or, if necessary, declare a mistrial. 18 U.S.C. § 3500(d). Both sides agree that the Jencks Act applies to military proceedings. The question here is the application of the Act where certain statements of prosecution witnesses are possessed by Congress but withheld from both the prosecution and the defense. If the "United States" [the prosecution] calls a witness, are statements retained by the Congress "in the possession of the United States" so as to require furnishing the defense with the statements even though the prosecution does not possess and cannot obtain the statements? Stated otherwise, are statements within the sole possession and control of the legislative branch "in the possession of the United States" within the meaning of the Jencks Act?
The district court held that under the Jencks Act "the statement need not be made to or held by the prosecution; any statement held by any part of the United States Government is covered." 382 F.Supp. at 700. The Court of Military
The Jencks Act followed swiftly on the heels of the Supreme Court decision in Jencks v. United States, 353 U.S. 657, 77 S.Ct. 1007, 1 L.Ed.2d 1103 (1957), which reversed a federal conviction because of the failure to provide the defense with certain pretrial statements of key Government witnesses. But the Supreme Court has noted that the Jencks decision was "not required by the Constitution," Scales v. United States, 367 U.S. 203, 258, 81 S.Ct. 1469, 1501, 6 L.Ed.2d 782 (1961), and that the decision was not cast in constitutional terms. Palermo v. United States, 360 U.S. 343, 345, 79 S.Ct. 1217, 1229, 3 L.Ed.2d 1287 (1959). The decision in Jencks v. United States and the Jencks Act itself do not set forth constitutional requirements. Rather "[t]hey state rules of evidence governing trials before federal tribunals; and we have never extended their principles to state criminal trials." United States v. Augenblick, 393 U.S. 348, 356, 89 S.Ct. 528, 533, 21 L.Ed.2d 537 (1969) (emphasis added).
The Supreme Court decision in United States v. Augenblick controls our decision in this case, as it demonstrates
VI. Notice and Double Jeopardy
The district court also held that the Charges, Specifications and Bill of Particulars under which Calley was tried did not adequately notify him of the charges against him nor fully protect him against the possibility of double jeopardy. The court apparently found fair notice problems in the fact that the first and second Specifications of the Original Charge against Calley (the killings at the trial in the southern part of the hamlet and at the ditch in the eastern portion) covered multiple unnamed victims in a single specification. The double jeopardy problem discerned by the court was two-fold. First, quoting a hypothetical situation posed by Calley's counsel, the district court found that there was a risk that Calley might have been twice convicted for killing the same individual within the same trial. See 382 F.Supp. at 710. Second, the district court speculated that Calley might again be charged for other killings in Vietnam and might not be able accurately to plead former conviction.
Fair notice and double jeopardy issues involve requirements of both the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. See United States v. Sanchez, 5 Cir., 1975, 508 F.2d 388, 395. The Constitution requires that criminal charges be sufficiently specific (1) to apprise the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet at trial, and (2) to enable the defendant to show with accuracy the extent to which he may plead former acquittal or conviction in other proceedings brought against him for a similar offense. Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749, 763-764, 82 S.Ct. 1038, 1047, 8 L.Ed.2d 240 (1962) and cases cited. We are satisfied that the charges against Calley, as amplified in
The charges set forth the time and place of the alleged offense. Under the Bill of Particulars, the prosecution set forth the chronological sequence of the separate charges: the killings at the trail occurred first, followed by the killings at the ditch, and next followed by the murder of the monk and then the child. The Bill of Particulars specified the actual physical location: the killings at the trail were in the southern portion of the village, those at the ditch occurred in the eastern part of My Lai (4). The instructions of the military judge were detailed and thorough, and required the prosecution's proof to conform to these allegations in the Bill of Particulars. The killings of the monk and the child, for example, were required to be proven as occurring in sequence after the mass killings at the ditch. The effect of Judge Kennedy's instructions is most evident with regard to the alleged killings at the trail. While there was substantial evidence of extensive participation by Calley in the slaying of the estimated 30-40 persons at this location, the court members returned a verdict of guilty for "not less than one" murder. This was no doubt due to the instructions and the testimony of a pathologist that he could point to only one wound on one body which he was certain to have been instantly fatal. Also, in considering the fair notice requirement, we mention again that Calley did not deny his involvement and participation in the mass killings at the ditch and the trail. It is difficult to understand how a defendant is deprived of fair notice of the charges against him when he confirms that the alleged incidents happened and that he participated in them. We are convinced that there was no failure to provide Calley fair notice of the charges against him, nor is there any likelihood that there will be any double jeopardy problems.
VII. Petitioner Calley's Cross-Appeal
Calley urged several additional contentions before the district court which the district judge did not discuss in his opinion. Among these was Calley's contention that the Army lacked jurisdiction over his person because he was improperly retained on active duty by the Army beyond his scheduled separation date of September 6, 1969, and that the military has no authority to court-martial a serviceman after the date of his scheduled separation by so retaining him on active duty. We agree, however, with the Government that Calley was lawfully retained in active duty status, and that military jurisdiction having properly attached prior to September 6, 1969, it continued until disposition of the case. See 46 C.M.R. at 1138-1142. We have carefully considered Calley's other contentions and, in light of our discussion of the proper scope of review in part II, supra, conclude that the additional issues presented for review are beyond the scope of review of the federal courts.
This Court is convinced that Lieutenant Calley received a fair trial from the
There is no valid reason then for the federal courts to interfere with the military judgment, for Calley has been afforded every right under our American system of criminal justice to which he is entitled.
Accordingly, the order of the district court granting a writ of habeas corpus to Calley is
BELL, Circuit Judge, with whom GEWIN, THORNBERRY, MORGAN and CLARK, Circuit Judges, join (dissenting).
Justice Holmes once observed that:
This is such a case. It was tried in the midst of the unusual emotion of the Nation's Vietnam Era. It was an emotion generated by a people sharply divided over the unprecedented and extraordinary use of our military resources in diplomacy; an emotion fueled by the print and electronic media in shaping public opinion without the impediment of censorship in what for all intent, purpose, and result was a war. The issues presented in this case, with the exception of the contention respecting the charges and their specificity, are all permeated to some extent with this atmosphere. In the view we take of the case, the withholding of evidence by the Congress (a Committee of the House), requires a new trial, or further proceedings in the district court.
Thus we would pretermit decision as to the prejudicial pretrial publicity issue. The Vietnam tragedy having ended, and the emotion and even the newsworthiness of the event and its component parts having subsided, it is unlikely that an arguable case could be made of prejudicial pretrial publicity in the event of a retrial.
Before joining issue with the majority on the conduct of Congress in withholding evidence, we note that the issue is not guilt or innocence, but whether Lt. Calley was denied substantial constitutional rights in his trial. It is necessary also to point out the following areas of agreement with the majority.
First, we agree that the scope of review in a federal habeas proceeding involving a military conviction is limited to claims:
We believe that the withholding of evidence from Calley by the Congress is an error of constitutional magnitude within this stated scope of review.
Second, because counsel failed to preserve error in connection with the effort to subpoena Secretary Laird, Secretary Resor and General Westmoreland, we find no error of constitutional magnitude. We do not reach the question whether the military judge erred in conditioning the issuance of the subpoenas on a preliminary interview with the witnesses to determine facts within their knowledge regarding command influence. It was arguably these witnesses who would have exercised or known of the exercise of command influence. It is appropriate to note, however, that we do not approve of the idea of substituting an interview for an examination under oath as a method of proving command influence.
We also find no error in the failure to subpoena John Tunstal.
Third, we find no error warranting federal habeas relief in the notice and double jeopardy claims arising out of the Charges, Specifications and Bill of Particulars.
Fourth, we conclude that the Jencks Act violation, 18 USCA, § 3500, does not rise to the level of a constitutional claim cognizable in a federal habeas proceeding involving a military conviction. Just as the majority points out, the Jencks Act does not set out constitutional requirements. United States v. Augenblick, 1969, 393 U.S. 348, 356, 89 S.Ct. 528, 21 L.Ed.2d 537, 545.
Fifth, we find no cognizable error or errors in Lt. Calley's cross-appeal.
This brings us to the issue, the resolution of which, in our judgement, requires a new trial or further proceedings in the district court. This issue involves the conduct of a Committee of the Congress, conduct which in the hindsight of United States v. Nixon,
Lt. Calley was in the army at the behest of his government; he was sent to Vietnam by his government; he was sent into combat at My Lai by his government. He was at My Lai with the consent and implied approval of the Congress. The government court-martialed him through the army and withheld evidence from him through the Congress. It is said that this is not a denial of due process. We disagree.
Our understanding of the majority opinion is that it excuses the conduct of Congress in ignoring the request of the defense, the military judge, and the prosecution, for the testimony given to a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee of prosecution witnesses concerning the My Lai incidents. These witnesses later testified in the Calley trial. Their testimony to the Congress was never made available to the Calley defense. No claim of privilege was asserted by Congress nor was the testimony made available to the military judge for in camera examination. The requests to the Congress simply went unanswered. Even subpoenas were ignored. To this date neither this court nor the district
Five reasons are offered in the majority opinion to justify this course of conduct. First, more extensive pre-trial discovery rights were accorded Lt. Calley by the military court than would have been available to him in a civilian court. Second, Lt. Calley was furnished other statements of every one of the witnesses used against him whose Congressional testimony was withheld. Third, "many" of the witnesses involved gave testimony at his trial which was not critical to his conviction. Fourth, the defense was unable to meet its burden of demonstrating that the testimony withheld was material, i. e., valid impeachment material not duplicative of that already possessed by the defense. Fifth, the subcommittee's statements were not available to the military court prosecution team.
The first, second and third reasons are supportive of due process. Each one helped to assure that the trial proceedings were fair, but they cannot be viewed as complete guarantees of due process either separately or cumulatively. For example, the third reason does not claim every witness, whose testimony was withheld, gave noncritical testimony. We do not understand this to be an assertion that the withholding of the statements of these witnesses was, if error, harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the concept of due process is not satisfied with a trial that is "mostly" fair or one in which "many" aspects of fairness are present.
The fourth and fifth reasons are unusual to say the least. It is said that the defense did not demonstrate that the content of the testimony withheld by the Congress was material to the verdict. With equal certainty, we can state that the prosecution could not show that testimony withheld was immaterial or cumulative.
When the majority fixes the "burden of proof" on Calley, it decides the issue against him. This case is distinct from every precedent that places the burden of demonstrating materiality on a defendant. These cases all involve fact situations in which the content of the material withheld was known when relief was sought. Here it was not. Cf. United States v. Deutsch, 5 Cir., 1973, 475 F.2d 55. The effect of the holding that Calley had this burden is to say he cannot know what Congress withheld because he does not know what they withheld.
While Brady v. Maryland, supra, establishes that unequal access to exculpatory facts by the prosecution over the defense can violate due process, it does not establish the opposite syllogism—if neither side has access to exculpatory facts, there can never be a violation of due process. The Constitutional guarantee of a fundamentally fair trial neither began with Brady, nor ended there. It is the broad Constitutional precept of fundamental fairness which separates us from the majority.
The majority concedes that under Brady v. Maryland, supra, earlier statements of witnesses who testify for the prosecution, would be available to the defense if material to mitigation, exculpation, or impeachment. See Giglio v. United States, 1972, 405 U.S. 150, 92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104.
It is argued, however, that Brady and its progeny speak in terms of the "prosecution" withholding evidence and thus would not apply to the Congress, citing Moore v. Illinois, 1972, 408 U.S. 786, 92 S.Ct. 2562,
The United States Government has brought this defendant to trial, just as surely as that same government placed him in the chain of events leading to My Lai. To state that the defendant must face the government in fragmented form, executive, congressional or judicial, is to unduly freight the right to due process. Such fragmentation effectively eases the government's burden of proof by allowing a so-called independent branch to withhold evidence material to innocence.
Over the years courts have recognized that the law "will not allow governmental privileges to work against a criminal defendant who has a substantial stake in the outcome of the trial."
The breadth of the majority position must be that an exculpatory statement in the hands of the President or the Congress which absolutely absolves a defendant, could be withheld with impunity, even though resulting in a defendant's conviction. The underpinning for this argument is the privilege to withhold. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has restricted this governmental privilege departure from the Anglo-American tradition that the public has a right to every man's evidence except those protected by a constitutional, common law, or statutory privilege. See Branzburg v. Hayes, 1972, 408 U.S. 665, 687 & n. 26, 92 S.Ct. 2646, 33 L.Ed.2d 626, 644 & n. 26.
In United States v. Nixon, supra, the court said:
This statement of the philosophy of the adversary system in criminal justice is repeated in United States v. Nobles, 1975, ___ U.S. ___, 95 S.Ct. 2160, 45 L.Ed.2d 141.
The Nixon holding is applicable to this case. Congress has no greater privilege than the President in the circumstances presented. There was no claim of privilege or of confidentiality except for the letter referred to in the majority opinion stating that testimony would be taken in executive session to avoid prejudicing the rights of any defendant in the My Lai prosecution. There is no general claim of secrecy under Art. I, § 5, Cl. 3, of the Constitution.
We would hold that the government, through Congress, caused the army, prima facie, to deny Lt. Calley due process of law in withholding the testimony of the witnesses who testified against Calley. We say prima facie because the testimony has never been examined for its materiality on mitigation, culpability or impeachment.
This brings us to the remedy we would afford. The district court should be directed to examine the testimony of the witnesses before Congress for materiality. Should it prove to be material, the writ should issue conditioned on the retrial of Lt. Calley within a reasonable time. If not material, the writ should be denied. In the event Congress refuses to produce the testimony or refuses to claim constitutional secrecy within a reasonable time, the district court should grant the writ conditioned upon the retrial of Lt. Calley, but with the stipulation that those witnesses whose testimony before the subcommittee is sought and not obtained shall not be allowed to testify.
One underlying principle of American jurisprudence is that no man or institution is above the law. Congress is not exempt from this principle. The military judge sustained this principle in the Sgt. Mitchell My Lai trial, n. 5 supra. The military judge failed to uphold this principle in the Calley trial. The majority of this court now condones that breach.
The Court of Military Review, pursuant to Art. 67(b), U.C.M.J., 10 U.S.C. § 867(b), granted review of three of the 30 issues urged by petitioner on appeal. One of the issues considered by the Court of Military Appeals was the sufficiency of the evidence.
Generous, supra, at 167.
Katz and Nelson, supra, 27 Ohio St.L.J. at 200. For representative cases, see United States ex rel. Weintraub v. Swenson, 2 Cir., 1948, 165 F.2d 756; United States ex rel. Innes v. Hiatt, 3 Cir., 1944, 141 F.2d 664; Smith v. Hiatt, 3 Cir., 1948, 170 F.2d 61, rev'd sub nom. Humphrey v. Smith, 336 U.S. 695, 69 S.Ct. 830, 93 L.Ed. 986 (1949); Montalvo v. Hiatt, 5 Cir., 1949, 174 F.2d 645, cert. denied, 338 U.S. 874, 70 S.Ct. 135, 94 L.Ed. 536; Hiatt v. Brown, 5 Cir., 1949, 175 F.2d 273, rev'd, 339 U.S. 103, 70 S.Ct. 495, 94 S.Ct. 691, (1950); Schita v. King, 8 Cir., 1943, 133 F.2d 283; Benjamin v. Hunter, 10 Cir., 1948, 169 F.2d 512; Kuykendall v. Hunter, 10 Cir., 1951, 187 F.2d 545.
346 U.S. at 149, 73 S.Ct. at 1052. Justices Black and Douglas dissented.
Indeed, one leading military law authority has suggested that the opinion in Burns has no precedential value because of its failure to gain majority support. Wiener, Courts-Martial and the Bill of Rights: The Original Practice, Parts I & II, 72 Harv.L.Rev. 1, 266 at 297 (1958).
The Court of Military Appeals has been criticized for being overly protective of servicemen's rights, to the prejudice of military discipline. E. g., Fratcher, Presidential Power to Regulate Military Justice: A Critical Study of Decisions of the Court of Military Appeals, 34 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 861 (1959); Westmoreland, Military Justice—A Commander's Viewpoint, 10 Am.Crim.L.Rev. 5 (1971). Another person involved in the military justice system on a day-to-day basis has commented, "During my year and a half as a military prosecutor, I have come to realize that the military criminal justice system is characterized by exacting fairness, frequently excessive leniency, and an obsessive regard for the rights of the accused." Rehyansky, Military Law is to Law as . ., Juris Doctor, Dec. 1974, p. 15.
See also Schlesinger v. Councilman, supra, 420 U.S. at 758, 95 S.Ct. at 1313; Id. at 765 n. 3, 95 S.Ct. 1316 n. 3 (Brennan, J., dissenting); J. Bishop, Justice Under Fire 137 (1974); Bishop, supra, 61 Colum.L.Rev. at 56-57 & n. 87; Quinn, Some Comparisons Between Courts-Martial and Civilian Practice, 15 U.C.L.A.L. Rev. 1240 (1968); Note, supra, 76 Yale L.J. at 389-390; Note, supra, 69 Colum.L.Rev. at 1265; Note, The Court of Military Appeals and the Bill of Rights: A New Look, 36 Geo.Wash. L.Rev. 435 (1967).
Hale v. United States, 5 Cir., 1970, 435 F.2d 737, 746, cert. denied, 402 U.S. 976, 91 S.Ct. 1680, 29 L.Ed.2d 142 (1971).
Tr. at 636.
Tr. at 918.
Id. at 401-402. The report of the Special Committee on Radio, Television, and the Administration of Justice of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Freedom of the Press and Fair Trial (1967) (the Medina Report), concludes that "as a matter of both constitutional law and policy, . . . extension of the contempt power is neither feasible nor wise." Id. at 11. The American Bar Association Standards Relating to Fair Trial and Free Press (the Reardon Report) states that "the Committee is opposed to expanded use of [the contempt] power, both because of the constitutional problems that would be raised and because of the inhibitory effect on speech that ought not to be prohibited." Id. at 27 (Approved Draft, 1968).
Shortly thereafter, defense counsel succinctly stipulated for the record his understanding of the agreed-upon procedure:
The situation most closely resembling the Brady issue presented in this case occurred in United States v. Ehrlichman, D.D.C., 1974, 389 F.Supp. 95. There, G. Gordon Liddy moved to strike the testimony against him of E. Howard Hunt "on the ground that prior testimony of Hunt given under oath in executive session before the Subcommittee on Intelligence of the House Armed Services Committee last year has not been produced. . . ." Both the Jencks Act and Brady v. Maryland were invoked to establish that the nonproduction of testimony was improper. In his opinion rendered July 3, 1974, Judge Gesell of the District of Columbia District Court concluded that Brady was inapplicable to the request because "[t]he subpoenaed testimony is not in the possession of the Government within the meaning of that decision, since the Subcommittee is neither an investigative or a prosecutorial arm of the Executive branch nor an agency of the Government in any way involved in the offense or related transactions." (citations omitted).
382 F.Supp. at 710-11 (emphasis in original).
We note, as an aside, that Congress is not the body that Brady contemplated as making the decision of the defense's right to favorable testimony. This determination is to be made by the trial court. See United States v. Nixon, supra.