Michael New's petition for writ of habeas corpus hearing was held on March 18, 1996. Michael Farris, along with Herb Titus and lead counsel Ronald D. Ray, appeared before Judge Paul Friedman in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to argue that the federal courts should accept Army Specialist New's case before the military courts have finished the appellate process.
Attorney Robert Shapiro (not the same attorney who represented O.J. Simpson) argued for the government that the military should retain jurisdiction over Michael New's discharge.
Ten days later, Judge Friedman denied the petition. In his 18-page opinion, Judge Friedman signaled that the New case is very important, but like the military judge he refused to rule on the merits of the case.
Friedman wrote, "The consequences of holding that a serviceman on active duty can unilaterally escape military jurisdiction … could be disruptive to military discipline, obedience, and confidence."
Colonel Ronald D. Ray, said of the ruling:
The Clinton Administration admitted and does not dispute any of the defense's facts presented in the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The federal judge, like the military judge failed to rule upon the heart of the case-that the President clearly lacks any authority to order the wearing of the unauthorized UN uniform or the fact that the entire deployment to Macedonia was unlawful, not having the proper Congressional approval for this UN military mission staffed by U.S. soldiers.
Judge Friedman's decision will be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the next step in the military court proceedings will be for General Montgomery Meigs, the Commanding General, to rule on the bad-conduct discharge. Colonel Ray will travel to Germany to plead Michael New's case before the general.
Michael New Defense Fund
P.O. Box 1136
Crestwood, KY 40014