Court Martial Appeals Blog

This is a blog focusing on Court Martial Appeals Issues.

Military Judge failed to recuse himself, findings in sexual assault case set aside.

March 22, 2018

On 15 March 2018, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) set aside the findings and sentence in United States v. Vargas because a military judge failed to recuse himself when he should have. In this case, Senior Airman (E-4) Vargas (appellant) was convicted of two specifications of attempted abusive sexual contact, three specifications […]

“Revenge Porn” is now a crime in the military.

March 6, 2018

What if your ex-boyfriend posts a picture of you naked on Facebook without your permission? It is now a crime in the military. Article 117a, “Wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images” has been approved and now incorporated into the UCMJ. Article 117a states that: Any person subject to this chapter who— (1) knowingly […]

CAAF reverses its own precedent based on the Statute of Limitations for rape.

February 25, 2018

On 6 February 2018, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) reversed its own precedent in United States v. Mangahas by determining that rape of an adult is not punishable by death and therefore has a five year statute of limitation. In October 2015, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mangahas was charged with […]

CAAF reverses another sexual conviction with prejudice calling the case a “tangled morass.”

February 15, 2018

About two weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) overturning a conviction for rape and other charges in the Coast Guard case United States v. Riesbeck. https://courtmartial3.wpengine.com/caaf-reverses-conviction-rape-prejudice-coast-guard-improperly-selected-panel-saturated-women/. The Court dismissed that case with prejudice on 23 January 2018 due to the panel being improperly stacked with […]

Where do I go to get “bad paper” out of my permanent file if I am already separated from the service?

February 2, 2018

If a reprimand or non-judicial punishment (NJP) is filed in your permanent file while you are in the service, it stays in there unless it is later removed. Sometimes, it is the reason you are later separated from the service. Sometimes you leave the service voluntarily. Either way, the reprimand or NJP stay in your […]

CAAF reverses conviction for rape with prejudice because the Coast Guard improperly selected a panel saturated with women.

January 25, 2018

On 23 January 2018, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) overturned a conviction for rape and other charges in the Coast Guard case United States v. Riesbeck. When Boatswain’s Mate Second Class (E-5) Riesbeck went to his court-martial in 2012 for allegedly raping a woman, he faced a seven member panel that […]

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reverses my client’s conviction and sentence based on improper use of propensity evidence.

January 18, 2018

The year 2018 has started off with a good news story! I argued in front of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) for my client Army Major (MAJ) Thompson recently and the CAAF ruled in our favor in January 2018. The CAAF reversed the ruling made by the Army Court of Criminal […]

Air Force CCA rules that victim’s unsworn statement is not evidence.

January 10, 2018

Article 6b of the UCMJ, states that a crime victim has a “right to be reasonably heard at . . . [a] sentencing hearing relating to the offense.” Article 6b(a)(4)(B). However, the rules of evidence allow a victim to present their testimony on sentencing in the form of an unsworn statement. This is similar to […]

Army Court of Criminal Appeals reverses conviction based on a bad search.

January 8, 2018

On 13 December 2017, in United States v. Morales, the Army Court of Criminal Appeal (ACCA) reversed PFC Morales’ court-martial conviction for abusive sexual content, indecent viewing and indecent recording. In this case, a female soldier alleged that PFC Morales sexually touched her while massaging her legs. After the alleged touching the female soldier and […]

military clemency

Propensity Evidence on Appeal.

December 21, 2017

As a law firm with significant experience and emphasis on court-martial appeals, we have been following the cases of “propensity” evidence very closely, and have had several convictions overturned on appeal due the improper use of propensity evidence.  The law has always been clear that one cannot be convicted on “uncharged misconduct” if that evidence […]

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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