Civilian Judges Tapped for Military Trials

The Pentagon announced Tuesday it has recruited four judges -- including a sitting state chief justice -- to serve as an appeals panel for the Defense Department's controversial military trials of alleged terrorists.

The panel includes two current civilian judges: Frank Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and Edward G. Biester, a judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pa., and a former state attorney general and member of the House of Representatives.

The Pentagon has also appointed Griffin B. Bell, former U.S. attorney general and former U.S. circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and William T. Coleman, Jr., former secretary of transportation.

All the judges will serve two-year terms and be designated major generals in the United States Army for the duration of their service. More judges may yet be appointed to the review panel, which will act like a transitional court of appeals for the military tribunals.

UPI has the details here.