Armed Forces Court of Criminal Appeals upholds military judge’s decision to dismiss rape case due to prosecutorial misconduct.
Back in October, I posted a blog regarding the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeal”s (AFCCA) decision to uphold a military judge’s decision to completely dismiss rape charges in United States v. Bowser. This month, that decision made by the AFCCA was upheld by the Armed Forces Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA). This case is notable because the rape charges were dismissed solely based on the wrongdoings of the prosecutor with regard to discovery. Prosecutorial misconduct occurs when trial counsel, “oversteps the bounds of that propriety and fairness which should characterize the conduct of such an officer in the prosecution of a criminal offense.” In United States v. Bowser, the trial counsels in this court-martial refused to turn over their written notes regarding witness interviews to the military judge. The military judge wanted to conduct an in camera review of the notes to determine if there was any Brady material contained in them that should be turned over to the defense. Brady material is material evidence favorable to the accused. It is named based on the 1963 Supreme Court case called Brady v. Maryland. The trial counsel in Bowser refused to turn over the material to the military judge claiming that the material was privileged. Obviously, the military judge became very upset by the trial counsel’s non-compliance and dismissed the case. The government appealed this decision, but the military judge’s dismissal was upheld by the AFCCA. The case was appealed again by the government and CAAF also upheld the decision. Therefore, it is likely that the appellant will not face these court-martial charges. Certainly, it is unexpected to have your criminal case be dismissed because of the government misbehaving. But in this case the unexpected happened and then the dismissal was upheld on appeal. A lot of unexpected things can happen at a court-martial, therefore, you need an advocate by your side at your court-martial or court-martial appeal who is not thrown off by the unexpected. I have a lot of experience and I have seen just about everything at court-martials and court-martial appeals. If I am by your side during those unexpected moments, I will know what to do. I can help you both at the court-martial level and in your 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.