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Federal Court Orders Army to Open McKinney Hearings

On Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ordered the Army to open its sexual misconduct case against Army Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney to the news media and public. Major news organizations and the accused soldier petitioned the federal court to open the pretrial hearing, but the Army argued that allowing the process to go public would put witnesses in danger, allow inadmissible evidence to spread and make finding an impartial jury difficult. Chief Justice Walter Cox III, one of the four judges hearing the case, said the Army supplied no evidence to support its claims. The Court decided that the services need to give a specific rationale before they can close hearings. According to Eugene R. Fidell, who argued for opening the hearing, “The days when any service could have a pattern and practice for presumptively closing an Article 32 investigation ended this afternoon.”

Sources:

USA Today and The L.A. Times - June 24, 1997

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