Court Martial Appeals Blog
This is a blog focusing on Court Martial Appeals Issues.
CAAF reviewing whether a Commander felt pressured into approving findings of guilty when he wanted to disapprove them.
Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) has agreed to review a Navy case called United States v. Barry. In this case, Senior Chief Barry was found guilty of sexual assault. Following his court-martial, Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge approved the findings of guilty as the convening authority. Senior Chief Barry appealed the … Read more
Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals reverses conviction due to an error in the terms of the guilty plea.
Prior to pleading guilty in a court-martial, typically an “offer to plead guilty” or a pretrial agreement (PTA) is constructed by the defense counsel and the terms are agreed to by the government. In the PTA, the accused is offering to plead guilty at a court-martial in exchange for certain things. For instance, an accused … Read more
Army Court Drastically Changes Decades of Appellate Military Justice Practice
On 7 September 2017, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals upended decades of appellate military justice practice without any warning to the Defense Appellate Division, the Government Appellate Division, and the civilian appellate defense counsel who regularly practice and appear before that Court. In United States v. Tovar-Chavez, the Army Court has now decided that … Read more
Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Overturns Offenses
On 14 June 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned and dismissed two offenses for one of our Coast Guard clients. The CAAF decision about whether an amendment to a specification was a minor or major change overruled YEARS of precedent for all the military courts of criminal appeals. Because of our … Read more
Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upholds judge’s suppression of cell phone evidence due to Fifth Amendment violation.
Army Sergeant (SGT) Mitchell was accused of using his cell phone to harass his wife. After SGT Mitchell was escorted to the military police station, he was read his rights. SGT Mitchell invoked his 5th Amendment right to an attorney. However, two hours after invoking his right to counsel, the police asked SGT Mitchell to … Read more
AFCCA finds judge erred in not admitting evidence of consensual sex following alleged sexual assault.
Recently, on 16 August 2017, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) reviewed a military judge’s decision to exclude evidence under M.R.E. 412 in United States v. Leonhardt. In this case, a female Air Force Academy cadet accused 2LT Leonhardt, a male Air Force Academy cadet, of raping her after inviting her back to … Read more
Army Court of Criminal Appeals determines that counsel have only one chance to object during closing argument.
Recently, on 5 July 2017, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) held that appellant, Sergeant (SGT) Kelly waived his right to claim on appeal that the government argued improperly when his defense counsel failed to object to the argument at the court-martial. In this case, SGT Kelly was accused of sexually assaulting a female … Read more
Air Force CCA puts limits on admissibility of victim impact statements.
Recently, on 7 July 2017, in United States v. Barker the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals made it clear that an alleged victim’s right to submit a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of a court-martial has limits. Airman First Class Barker pled guilty to possessing and viewing child pornography at his court-martial. … Read more
Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals holds that victim’s right to not be excluded from an Article 32 hearing has limits.
Recently, in A.M. v. United States and Densford, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) reviewed a claim from an alleged sexual assault victim that she was excluded from parts of the preliminary Article 32 hearing in violation of Article 6b of the UCMJ. Under Article 6b(a)(3), the alleged victim of a UCMJ offense … Read more
Can Power Bars get you Court-Martialed?
At least in the Air Force, the answer appears to be “yes.” In the case of United States v. Pugh, the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial judge’s decision to dismiss court-martial charges against Major Pugh. Major Pugh was charged with use of drugs, and willful dereliction of duty by … Read more