Military Law Blog

Discharge Review

New Law Gives Right to Appeal to Servicemembers With Lightest Sentences–But You Must Act Quickly!

May 23, 2023

As discussed previously here, the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act opened up access to the appellate courts to every servicemember convicted at general or special courts-martial, no matter the sentence. If you are court-martialed and receive a sentence that includes a bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, or confinement for two years or more, your … Read more

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals for Armed Forces Finds That Confinement Conditions Did Not Constitute Cruel and Unusual Punishment

May 8, 2023

Many bases and posts throughout the United States do not have their own confinement facilities. The commanders of these installations often enter into Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with local civilian jails to hold pretrial detainees, servicemembers serving a short sentence, or servicemembers awaiting transfer to a military confinement facility. The conditions at these local jails … Read more

Congress Makes Changes to Appellate Rights in 2023 NDAA

April 24, 2023

Before December 23, 2022, Article 66 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) set up two ways for convicted servicemembers to get direct appellate review from the service courts of criminal appeals. First, courts-martial that resulted in a sentence that included death, dismissal, dishonorable discharge, bad conduct discharge, or confinement for two years or … Read more

Air Force Appellate Court Sets Aside Guilty Plea Over Sex Offender Registration

April 11, 2023

Some convictions at court-martial can carry certain collateral consequences. For example, domestic assault convictions will trigger Lautenberg limitations on gun ownership and possession. Convictions for offenses considered felonies at the state level can strip a convicted servicemember of the ability to vote or own weapons. Convictions for sex offenses usually leads to registration as a … Read more

Article 15

Army Court Denies Government Appeal Over Suppressed Statement

March 27, 2023

Article 66 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides servicemembers who are convicted at court-martial with the ability to appeal those convictions to the service appellate courts. These Article 66, UCMJ, reviews are the majority of the cases that these courts see. However, there are some instances in which the service courts address … Read more

Navy-Marine Corps Court Sets Aside Conviction for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

March 21, 2023

On New Year’s Day in 2020, nine Sailors assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina were celebrating the new year at a local river bank. While there, Hospitalman Apprentice Helems drank six to eight beers. He then volunteered to drive all eight of his fellow Sailors in his pickup truck. He had five Sailors with … Read more

DoD Announces That Poppy Seeds May Lead to a Positive Urinalysis for Codeine

February 21, 2023

For decades, servicemembers facing court-martial, nonjudicial punishment, or administrative separation for positive urinalyses have argued that certain results could come from the ingestion of perfectly legal substances. One example of an innocent substance that could lead to a positive opiate urinalysis is poppy seeds, found on bagels, in seasonings, and on other food products. The … Read more

Army Appellate Court Upholds Conviction for Soldier Who Remotely Wiped Her iPhone After It Had Been Seized

February 8, 2023

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals recently decided the case of United States v. Strong. SSG Strong was driving a military tactical vehicle with several cadets from the United States Military Academy in the back. Her truck was last in a convoy that was transporting a group of cadets to a land navigation course in … Read more

Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Court Sets Aside Conspiracy Charge

January 17, 2023

The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals recently decided the case of United States v. Gomezvillalobos. Captain Gomezvillalobos was convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance as well as three other specifications on unrelated offenses. In early 2019, the Captain was texting with a 2ndLt he knew about attending an upcoming concert. The 2ndLt … Read more

William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Court Upholds Sexual Assault Conviction

December 21, 2022

The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals recently released its opinion in the case of United States v. Jones. MMFN Jones was with a group of Sailors that rented several rooms at a hotel in Seattle. One of the sailors became very intoxicated and went to sleep in one of the rooms rented by the … Read more