The court-martial of the Armys sit-down doctor, Capt. Leon T. Davis, became ensnarled in legal technicalities yesterday before either the prosecution or defense presented its case.
Military Judge John W. Hanft said it appeared contradictory for Davis to argue on the one hand that the Army has no legal jurisdiction over him, while at the same time agreeing to a prosecution document listing a series of violations of Army authority.
Hanft, at the opening day of the general court-martial at Fort MeNair, said that if Davis had truly been free of Army authority he could not have been breaking its rules and was jeopardizing his position by admitting to such charges as desertion. In response to the judge's concern, prosecution and defense lawyers left the courtroom to rewrite the statement of violations that Davis intends to admit.
Legal sources said that in exchange for the defendant's admitting violating several Army laws, Maj. Gen. Kenneth E. Dohleman, commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, who ordered Davis court-martial, has agreed that the doctor's maximum sentence, if convicted, would be six months.
Davis refused to continue practicing as a radiologist in the Army on the granund the military did not live up to its contract with him and he thus was no longer subject to its orders. Army Secretary Cliffod L. Alexander notified Davis on Tuesday that he would not accept the doctor's resignation from the service. The court-martial is scheduled to resume today.