Professor Fredric I. Lederer, Chancellor Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School and director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology, presented the Tenth George S. Prugh Lecture on May 4 at the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va. The annual lecture on military legal history is named in honor of Army Major General George S. Prugh (1920-2006).
Lederer's lecture, titled "The Evolution of Military Criminal Law from Rome to the Military Justice Act of 2016 - and Beyond" critiqued modern American military law. His primary thesis was that in its otherwise commendable and successful emphasis to ensure justice, military criminal law has become so "civilianized" that it has largely lost its justification to remain a separate military legal system and in doing so also has deprived commanders of necessary prompt summary disciplinary powers. The lecture will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Military Law Review.
Lederer has written numerous articles and books on legal technology, military law, criminal procedure and evidence. Before joining the William & Mary faculty, he served 12 years on active duty in the Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, serving as a faculty member of the Army JAG School during part of that time and afterward. He remained in the reserves until retiring as a colonel in 1998. A principal author of the Military Rules of Evidence, he was appointed by the Secretary of Defense as a public member of the "Code Committee," responsible for oversight of military criminal law, for four years. With Fran Gilligan, he is the co-author of Court-Martial Procedure, a standard treatise in the field.
Lederer is founder and director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology, a joint initiative of the Law School and the National Center for State Courts.
The Judge Advocates Foundation honored Lederer in 2015 with the Chief Justice John Marshall Life Achievement Award, its highest honor. The text of the award stated that it was given to Lederer "who in the tradition of the Great Chief Justice, honorably served as a judge advocate, and continues in making inspiring, immeasurable contributions to our nation outside the military legal system."
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