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October 07, 2022 National Conference of Specialized Court Judges

NCSCJ Recognizes Top Military Judges Course Graduates

By Col. Linda Strite Murnane, U.S. Air Force (ret.), Beavercreek, OH

The NCSCJ recognized the top graduates of the 65th Military Judges Course during the investiture ceremony held on July 1, 2022, at the Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va. Major Tyler Musselman, U.S. Air Force, and Major James Baehr, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, tied for top honors in the rigorous training program conducted annually for new military judges.

Recognizing the top graduate of the Military Judges Course started during the year that Colonel (USAF, Ret.) Rodger Drew chaired the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges. The recipient of the recognition is selected by the School and Chief Trial Judges through graded exercises, course work, judicial writing, and class participation during the course. Trial and appellate judges from all the U.S. service branches, and select military judges from allied nations, attend the course which focuses on honing skills of the military justice experts newly appointed to be judges by their respective services.

The Military Rules of Evidence largely follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, with some exceptions to adapt the Rules to specifics found in military practice. Individuals selected for appointment to the bench ordinarily have served as prosecutors and/or defense counsel, and often have held other staff and leadership positions prior to service as a military judge.

The Honorable Michael Lewis, Colonel, USAF, Ret., outgoing Chair of the NCSCJ’s Military Courts Committee, presented the recognition plaques to Majors Musselman and Baehr on Colonel Lewis’ first day after retirement from his distinguished military service. Major Musselman joined the NCSCJ at its Awards dinner held at Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant in Chicago during the ABA Annual Meeting where awards and recognitions for 2021 and 2022 were presented.

The new Chair of the Military Courts Committee for the NCSCJ is the Chief Trial Judge for the U.S. Coast Guard, Capt. Ted Fowles. Capt. Fowles is separately being recognized this year by the Judge Advocates Association with the Major General William K. Suter Distinguished Judicial Service Award. This award ceremony was held at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA on September 15, 2022.

Col. Linda Strite Murnane

U.S. Air Force (ret.)

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