Margaret A. Ryan has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces since 2006. Judge Ryan served in the Marine Corps through deployments in the Philippines and the Gulf War. She then attended Notre Dame Law School through a military scholarship and served as a JAG officer for four years. Judge Ryan clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas.
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Judge Ryan’s majority opinion reasoned that the a prohibition on multiplicity is necessary to protect double jeopardy principles.
Judge Ryan’s majority opinion holds that the First Amendment’s protection sweeps less broadly in the military context. But even under the lesser protections, government cannot charge defendant for disobeying orders by attending a KKK rally.
Judge Ryan’s majority opinion held that the omission of a Government’s merit testimony’s testimony was a substantial omission that rendered the transcript non-verbatim. Verbatim requirement is a jurisdictional one and appellant cannot waive it.
Judge Ryan’s majority opinion held that a defective specification is not structural error and therefore does not warrant automatic dismissal. A defendant may raise a defective specification claim at any time, but doing so first on appeal triggers plain error review. A defective specification claim is not jurisdictional.
The majority reaffirmed the accused’s right to effective assistance of counsel and remanded for further determination of the defendant counsel’s conflict of interest. Judge Ryan dissented, arguing that the facts of the case did not suggest a conflict of interest sufficient to violate the Sixth Amendment.