Military Law Blog

New Offices of the Special Trial Counsel Take On Prosecutions of Sexual Assault Cases

January 16, 2024

The military justice system has drawn criticism over the years due to the role that commanders historically played in deciding which cases went to trial. This criticism has been heightened in recent years as Congress has sought to address issues regarding the handling of military sexual assault allegations. The FY22 NDAA included Congress’s attempt to … Read more

Army Appellate Court Reverses Rape Conviction After Military Judge Limited Defense Cross-Examination of the Alleged Victim

December 29, 2023

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals recently reversed a guilty finding for rape in the case of United States v. NievesVele. PV2 NievesVele was convicted of rape and sentenced to 14 years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, and reduction to E-1. At trial, the alleged victim testified that PV2 NievesVele had committed forcible penetration without consent. … Read more

Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Court Finds No Unlawful Influence in Senior Trial Counsel’s Actions

December 13, 2023

The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals recently decided the case of United States v. Nina. LCpl Nina was investigated for the introduction, possession, and distribution of LSD aboard Camp Pendleton, California. When he was interviewed, LCpl Nina admitted his crimes and named the Marines to whom he distributed the LSD, as well as the … Read more

UCMJ

Appellate Court Sets Aside Conviction for 44-Year Desertion Offense

November 30, 2023

The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals recently decided the case of United States v. Miller. On its face, the case seems rather straight-forward. Antonio Miller served honorably for a four-year enlistment in the United States Marine Corps from 1972 to 1976. Upon his discharge, Miller enlisted in the United States Navy. Almost two years … Read more

William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

US Navy Publishes New Guidance Concerning “Vessel Exception” in Nonjudicial Punishment Cases

November 16, 2023

Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows commanders to impose punishments for minor offenses without sending the matter to a court-martial. It is intended to allow commanders to deal with lower-level disciplinary matters quickly and then move forward with the mission. The servicemember can decide whether to appear before the commander personally … Read more

Court of Appeals Decides Case Involving Disrespectful Text Messages

October 31, 2023

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently decided the case of United States v. Brown. Chief Brown was one of 11 chief petty officers assigned to a Coast Guard cutter. While the ship was in dry dock, the group used a group text chat to communicate regarding ship’s business. On three occasions, … Read more

William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Top Military Court to Consider Legal Sufficiency of Sexual Assault Conviction

October 18, 2023

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently granted a petition for review in the Army case of United States v. Mendoza. SSG Mendoza was stationed in Korea with a female Specialist. The Specialist had been off post for dinner and drinks and then returned and joined a group that included SSG Mendoza at … Read more

Court of Federal Claims Vacates Army Board for Correction of Military Records Decision

September 25, 2023

A judge in the Court of Federal Claims recently issued a decision in the case of Guardado v. United States. Guardado had been a Master Sergeant in the Army when he was convicted of several offenses at court-martial in 2014. He was sentenced to eight years confinement, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and … Read more

Discharge Review

Court of Appeals Sets Aside Sentence In Involuntary Manslaughter Case

September 11, 2023

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently decided the case of United States v. Harrington. Airman First Class Harrington was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter, communicating a threat, and the unlawful use of cocaine and marijuana. The drug and threat specifications resulted from a separate incident from the involuntary manslaughter offense. The … Read more

NCIS Expunges Sailor’s Name from Federal Background Check Records After Change in Law

August 28, 2023

On January 1, 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 took effect. One of the provisions of that law significantly improves servicemembers’ chances of getting their names removed from the federal DCII and NCIC background check databases. The new law allows a servicemember who was investigated by military law enforcement agencies to … Read more