Ding ding. Ding ding. Captain Fulton, departing.
Today is the last day in the storied naval legal career of Captain Marcus N. Fulton.
Over the past 24 years, Captain Fulton has been one of the leading litigators and jurists in the military justice system. He is also both a co-founder and the namer of CAAFlog, which is still running fifteen years after he took such delight in creating a portmanteau by combining the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces’ acronym with the ancient naval justice practice of flogging.
He is probably the only judge advocate ever to hit the trifecta of engaging in the regular court-martial system, a court of inquiry, and the military commission system. Captain Fulton was a litigator at both the court-martial trial and appellate levels. He is one of a tiny clique of military lawyers who have participated in a court of inquiry, successfully defending USS Greeneville’s officer of the deck at the time of the submarine’s collision with the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru. As a trial judge in Hawaii (how cool is that?), then-Commander Fulton issued a decision finding apparent unlawful command influence resulting from a statement by President Obama—a ruling John Oliver discussed while guest-hosting the Daily Show (how cool is that?). As an appellate judge, he sat on both the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Military Commission Review. On the Navy-Marine Corps bench, he wrote for the court in such published cases as United States v. Solis, 75 M.J. 759 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2016); United States v. Hale, 76 M.J. 713 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2017); and United States v. Perkins, 78 M.J. 550 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2018). And he authored the Court of Military Commission Review’s decision in Hawsawi v. United States, 389 F. Supp. 3d 1001 (Ct. Mil. Comm’n Rev. 2019), one of the few CMCR opinions to be upheld by the D.C. Circuit. In re Hawsawi, 955 F.3d 152 (D.C. Cir. 2020).
Captain Fulton’s final Navy gig was the coveted position of Director, Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Defense Division—the gunslingers of Code 45. Leading from the front, he argued two cases at CAAF as the Code 45 Division Director, ending his military justice career on a high note with his victory in United States v. Becker.
In addition to his prodigious litigation experience, Captain Fulton twice deployed to the Fifth Fleet as USS Dwight D. Eisenhower’s command judge advocate and put his boots on the ground in Afghanistan during a six-month deployment to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan in Kabul. He displayed his academic chops with his article, Never Have So Many Been Punished So Much by So Few: Examining the Constitutionality of the New Special Court-Martial, Army Law. (June 2003), at 28. And he is almost certainly the best violinist who has sat on the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
After leaving the Navy, Captain Fulton will become a Veterans Law Judge on the Board of Veterans Appeals. (We can’t help but think of the Daily Show’s America (The Book)’s description of the Board of Veterans Appeals’ superior court, which it called the “U.S. Court of Veterans Affairs”: “Looking for the world’s most depressing court experience? You’ve found it.”)
Fair winds and following seas, Captain Fulton. You have made a tremendous impact on the military justice system during your almost quarter century as a U.S. Navy judge advocate.
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