Court Martial Appeals Blog
This is a blog focusing on Court Martial Appeals Issues.
Big Changes to Military Justice in 2019
In 2016, Congress passed the Military Justice Act of 2016. These significant changes to the UCMJ and the Manual for Courts-Martial came into effect on January 1, 2019. While the law did create some new offenses, the biggest changes came in the procedures associated with courts-martial. Here are some of the most important changes: 1) … Read more
CAAF Determines that Navy DJAG Improperly Influenced a Rear Admiral in Navy Seal Sexual Assault Case
In early 2014, Senior Chief Barry was charged with two specifications of sexual assault. He eventually went to trial and was convicted of one specification by a military judge. The finding and sentence came up to RADM Lorge, the Commander of Naval Region Southwest-San Diego for action. Although the Rules for Court-Martial governing the case … Read more
What is an unreasonable multiplication of charges, and why does it matter?
If you have ever read a court-martial charge sheet, you have probably wondered how one allegation of a crime could turn into five different charges. Prosecutors frequently break an incident down into multiple offenses when they prepare the charge sheet. For example, one fistfight could end up with several specifications of assault, one for each … Read more
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 … Read more
What if I find new evidence after my court-martial?
If you or your loved one was convicted at a court-martial, it does not mean the opportunity to defend yourself is over. What if about a year after your court-martial you discover new evidence that could lead to a new finding that you are not guilty? In this case, you may petition for a new … Read more
CAAF reverses three Air Force sexual assault convictions in one day.
Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) reversed three different Air Force cases based on their 2016 holding in United States v. Hills. In Hills, 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 … Read more
The Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals reverses sexual assault conviction based on appellant’s right to choose his military defense counsel.
Yeoman Second Class Cooper (appellant) was convicted at a court-martial of three specifications of sexual assault and one specification of abusive sexual contact. He was sentenced to five years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Appellant’s conviction was based on the allegations of Petty Officer Second … Read more
Military Judge failed to recuse himself, findings in sexual assault case set aside.
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 … Read more
“Revenge Porn” is now a crime in the military.
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 … Read more
CAAF reverses its own precedent based on the Statute of Limitations for rape.
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 … Read more