William J. "Jim" Haynes II (born March 30, 1958 in Waco, Texas) is an American lawyer, and former General Counsel of the United States Department of Defense during president George W. Bush's administration. Haynes resigned as General Counsel in February 2008.
Haynes graduated from Davidson College and Harvard Law School. He has been General Counsel of the Department of the Army, a partner with the law firm of Jenner & Block, and an associate general counsel of General Dynamics Corporation.
In 2006, Haynes was nominated by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. His nomination drew strong opposition from Democrats and even from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. In January 2007, Haynes announced that he would withdraw from consideration for nomination to the Court of Appeals.
A front page article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal reported that Haynes opposed giving members of the U.S. Armed Forces access to the Supreme Court if they are court-martialled. In 2005 he wrote letters to Congress opposing the Equal Justice for Our Military Act, which was pending in the 109th Congress. Haynes opined that "there is no apparent justification to modify the current review process, thereby increasing the burden upon the Supreme Court and counsel to address the myriad of matters that would be encountered with expanded certiorari jurisdiction." A year later Navy veteran Norbert Basil MacLean III lobbied law makers with twenty-two years of military justice statistics showing that 90 percent of all court-martial servicemembers are completely shut out of seeking Supreme Court review. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Arlen Specter then introduced bipartisan legislation, the Equal Justice for United States Military Personnel Act of 2007 in the Senate. In August 2006, the American Bar Association issued a report and passed a resolution urging Congress to give servicemembers Supreme Court access. A 2002 Army Times editorial was critical of the Department of Defense trying to undercut servicemembers from accessing the federal courts. That failed proposal was submitted to Congress by Haynes.
On July 7 2004 The United States Navy's General Counsel, Alberto J. Mora responded to a request from Albert Church, the Navy's Inspector General for information about the role his office played in the development of questionable interrogation techniques. Mora's narrative described learning, from David Brant, the Director of NCIS, that questionable interrogation techniques were being practiced in Guantanamo. Mora described immediately calling meetings of the Navy's most senior legal staff, who all concurred the techniques were questionable and dangerous.
According to Mora's narrative, he met with Haynes on December 20 2002, January 9, 2003, and January 15, 2003. Mora described being surprised to learn, when he returned from his vacation, that the questionable interrogation techniques had not been rescinded.
In November, 2006, the German government received a complaint seeking the prosecution of Mr. Haynes for alleged war crimes. The complaint alleges that during his tenure, he was legally responsible for the US torture programs. The charges have since been withdrawn due to a lack of substantial evidence.
The plaintiff's legal strategy for the prosecution of Mr. Haynes and his co-defendant lawyers is to attempt to use the precedent of the Nuremberg trials, where German jurists whose legal work was complicit in Nazi atrocities were prosecuted.