Court Martial Appeals Blog

This is a blog focusing on Court Martial Appeals Issues.

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Will my court-martial automatically be appealed to the appellate courts?

December 16, 2017

In many circumstances, a court-martial case will be automatically reviewed by the appropriate service Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). There is an Army CCA, Air Force CCA, Navy-Marine CCA and a Coast Guard CCA. Article 66 of the UCMJ dictates which court-martial cases will be automatically heard by the service courts of criminal appeals. Currently, … Read more

Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals gives appellant an entire year off of his confinement because the Air Force missed a hearing.

December 6, 2017

In 2014, in United States v. Katso, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) reversed an appellant’s convictions of aggravated sexual assault, burglary, and unlawful entry, for which the appellant was sentenced to confinement for ten years, total forfeitures, and a dishonorable discharge. The reversal was based on the AFCCA’s finding that a DNA … Read more

Can an incomplete and unfiled written reprimand be used against me in my court-martial?

November 28, 2017

Today on November 28, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) is set to review this very issue in United States v. Jerkins. In this case, Army Major Jerkins was convicted of assault consummated by a battery upon a child after hitting his three-year-old step-son with a belt. Following his conviction, MAJ … Read more

Service Appellate Courts’ application of CAAF’s ruling regarding the propensity instruction appear inconsistent.

November 20, 2017

In United States v. Hills in 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) held that if a servicemember is charged with more than one sexual offense in a court-martial, one charge cannot be used as “propensity evidence” to show that one of the other charges occurred. More specifically, the Court held that … Read more

If I choose the wrong attorney to defend me, can’t I just later appeal the court-martial claiming that I had a bad defense counsel?

November 14, 2017

The claim that you received ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) is an appeal that can be made following a court-martial. However, this claim must come with evidentiary support. It is not an easy claim to make and for that reason it often is not a successful argument on appeal. Counsel are presumed competent, and the … Read more

CAAF decides Power Bars should not get you court-martialed, reversing the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals.

November 9, 2017

In August, I posted a blog about the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals decision in United States v. Pugh. See https://courtmartial3.wpengine.com/can-power-bars-get-court-martialed/. Major Pugh was charged with use of drugs, and willful dereliction of duty by consuming Strong and Kind bars, both of which contain hemp seeds, in violation of AFI 90-507. Major Pugh was … Read more