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Supreme Court hears military appeals court jurisdiction case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF; briefs] Wednesday in United States v. Denedo [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report], in which the Court will consider whether a military appellate court has jurisdiction to entertain a petition for a writ of error coram nobis [backgrounder] filed by a former service member to review a final court-martial conviction. The case involves a Nigerian national who enlisted in the US Navy and was later convicted on larceny charges. After he was discharged from the Navy, deportation proceedings began on the basis of the conviction. Denedo sought a writ of error coram nobis from the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) [official website], which found [opinion, PDF] that it had jurisdiction over the case. Appealing the ruling, the Department of Justice [official website] argued that the CAAF did not have jurisdiction to hear the petition because Denedo was a civilian at the time of its filing, and that Congress had not granted this kind of military court the ability to hear such writs after a petitioner leaves the military. Counsel for Denedo argued that the All Writs Act (28 USC § 1651 text) conferred jurisdiction for the courts to hear the writs just as the act did for non-military courts.

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