Ft. Lewis Courts-Martial Upheld As “Jurisdictional Error” Argument Fails

On 5 August 2010, United States v. Smith, 69 M.J. 613 (2010) held that Acting Commander BG Mathis had authority as “Commander, Ft. Lewis” to convene general courts-martial despite the fact that LTG Jacoby retained general-court martial authority as “Commander, I Corps”  following his deployment to Iraq. Smith reasoned that LTG Jacoby essentially had authority to “split” the Secretary of Army’s combined general court-martial convening authority designation of  “Commander, I Corps & Fort Lewis”  in General Order No. 27….” In affirming the conviction, the Court candidly noted “operational flexibility oftentimes militates such orders.”  Finally, Smith did concede the “assumption of command orders substantially comply with Army Regulation 600-200″ but inexplicably failed to elaborate on the issue further.

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