Tag Archives: legal support

Legal support for servicemembers, reservists and veterans participating in Occupy Wall Street actions

The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and thousands of cities world-wide and offered legal support.

Members of the US military have joined the OWS protests in many locales. As the Military Law Task Force of the NLG, we stand ready to coordinate legal support for active duty servicemembers, reservists and veterans who are facing harassment and/or legal sanctions for participating in these important protests. (We can be reached by telephone at (619)463-2369 or on our website at this link.)

We also want to correct some of the misinformation given to members of the military about the right to protest. Contrary to popular opinion, active-duty members of the military do retain some of their constitutional rights. While there are some military-specific restrictions on these rights, most protest actions are in fact legal.

Memo: Command Influence

 A PDF version of this publication, for download and printing, can be found here.

Command Influence

By Bob Harmon

DATE: August 12, 2005

“Command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice.” 1

–US Ct. of Military Appeals, 1986

“The good news is that there were only a handful of appellate opinions dealing with unlawful command influence this past year. The bad news is that unlawful command influence is still alive.” 2

COL Robert A. Burrell, Chair and Professor, Criminal Law Department, U.S. Army JAG School, Charlottesville VA, 2001



Question Considered: How to challenge command influence in U.S. military law.

Brief Answer: Counsel can challenge command influence, in military courts-martial, in two ways:

1. By way of the existing safeguards against unlawful command influence already in U.S. military law, where those safeguards were breached, and,

2. By raising new challenges in areas where command-influence law remains uncertain, and where military institutions create a strong possibility, an appearance, of improper command influence even when it’s not exerted or currently unlawful.

Military case law on unlawful command influence has evolved considerably in the last 10 years.