Appellant gets NO PUNISHMENT as sentence on appeal even after pleading guilty at his court-martial!
At the end of March, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) decided to change an appellant’s sentence to “no punishment” in U.S. v. Lovell. The appellant had pled guilty to a five-year desertion, missing movement and an unauthorized absence at his court-martial and had received 6 months confinement, a bad conduct discharge and a reduction to E-1. Why did the ACCA grant him no punishment based on his appeal? Well, it was because they determined that the military judge erred at his court-martial in two different respects. First, the military judge granted a government challenge for cause against one of the panel members and did not fully explain why in the record. Second, the military judge had the appellant plead guilty to missing movement “by design” instead of what he was charged with, missing movement “by neglect.” Obviously missing movement “by design” is a more egregious offense than missing movement “by neglect.” Just a blog ago, I wrote about how an appellant had a successful appeal because the military judge erred in giving instructions to the court-martial panel. I highlight these errors because you may not realize that you have a valid appeal based on a court-martial error. In Lovell’s case, he pled guilty, so it was probably surprising to him that he had a valid appeal. But he did. I have the experience to know if the military judge in your case erred. I have the experience to know if you have a valid appeal. Call me now and I will let you know if you might have a valid court-martial appeal. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.