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Alleged victim’s refusal to participate in proceeding involving alleged sexual assault could lead to a speedy trial dismissal for the accused.

On 29 November 2016, Private Hendrix was charged with two specifications of sexual assault. However, the alleged victim refused to participate and testify in the proceedings. Therefore, eventually, the convening authority dismissed the charges. One day later, the alleged victim decided she did want to participate in a trial against the accused. The convening authority then preferred charges on PV2 Hendrix and he was then arraigned. The arraignment on the second set of charges took place 156 days after the first preferral. Upon arraignment, PV2 Hendrix claimed that he was arraigned in violation of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 707. This rule states that the arraignment of an accused may not take place more that 120 days from the date charges are preferred against him. By dismissing the charges, the convening authority restarted the R.C.M. 707 clock. However, PV2 Hendrix argued that this dismissal was a subterfuge to cover up the fact that the R.C.M. 707 clock had run. The military judge in PV2 Hendrix’s case agreed with PV2 Hendrix and dismissed the charged against him. The prosecution appealed the military judge’s decision to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) and the military judge’s decision was reversed. The ACCA held that the convening authority’s dismissal was not subterfuge, but instead legitimately based on the alleged victim’s unwillingness to participate. Now, PV2 Hendrix will appeal ACCA’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF). Having argued in front of CAAF on behalf of my clients, it is quite possible that the court will agree with the original military judge and dismiss the charges against PV2 Hendrix. I have a ton of experience at the court-martial trial level, the service courts of appeal and CAAF. If you or your loved one is facing court-martial charges or wants to appeal a conviction, get experience on your side. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a consultation.

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