Court Martial Appeals Blog

This is a blog focusing on Court Martial Appeals Issues.

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 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

Just because there is a search warrant doesn’t mean they can search whatever they want! CAAF to hear my argument this week.

November 7, 2017

This week I am set to argue in front of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) on behalf of my client, Captain Eppes, an Air Force officer. In this case, special agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) went beyond the scope of a search warrant when they searched … Read more

Army conviction may be reversed by CAAF for prosecutor misconduct.

October 20, 2017

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) will be hearing oral argument in United States v. Short on Tuesday, 24 October 2017. In this case, CAAF will be determining whether Sergeant Short’s conviction based on allegations of domestic abuse should be reversed due to prosecutorial misconduct. The courts have determined that prosecutorial misconduct occurs … Read more

Three panel members lied. CAAF overturns conviction saying that mistrial should have been granted.

October 16, 2017

In June 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) overturned a conviction for several alleged offenses in the Army case United States v. Commisso because three panel members lied when they stated that they had no prior knowledge of the case. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Commisso was convicted by a general court-martial … Read more