Military Law Blog

Court of Appeals

FY22 NDAA Removes Commanders From Sexual Assault Prosecutorial Decisions

December 23, 2021

Members of Congress have long been focused on the issue of sexual assault in the military and the steps taken by military commanders to combat the problem and impartially try those accused. After years of revisions to the UCMJ articles related to sexual assault and the procedures by which prosecutorial decisions are made, Congress has … Read more

Army Prosecutors Appeal Not Guilty Findings in Pretrial Agreement Case

November 30, 2021

The Government frequently enters into pretrial agreements with accused servicemembers. These agreements benefit an accused because they usually limit the possible sentence and may reduce the number of charges the accused faces. They benefit the Government because they provide certainty in the outcome and require substantially less resources than a contested trial. When an accused … Read more

William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals Finds Military Judge Erred in Admitting Videotaped Statements

November 16, 2021

We have discussed the hearsay rule on several occasions. The rule against hearsay is intended to provide an accused the chance to directly confront witnesses against him or her. Statements made out of court cannot be repeated by witnesses at trial as evidence that the substance of the statements are true. For example, if LCpl … Read more

Court of Appeals

Air Force Court Finds that Crime Victims Do Not Have the Right to be Heard by Military Trial Judges on Matters of Trial Delay

October 26, 2021

The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) this week issued an order denying a writ of mandamus filed by an alleged crime victim who argued that she had a right to be heard by the military trial judge concerning a defense requested trial continuance. A TSgt is currently facing trial on four charges, one … Read more

Discharge Review

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Navy-Marine Corps Court on Hearsay Ruling in Navy Murder Case

October 11, 2021

This blog has discussed the evidentiary rules regarding hearsay several times. Essentially, hearsay statements are those made outside of the trial process and then introduced by a witness or document during the trial. As a general rule, these statements are excluded from evidence because every accused person has the constitutional right to confront his or … Read more

Court of Appeals for Armed Forces and Federal District Court Come to Different Conclusions on Question of UCMJ Jurisdiction Over Retirees

September 28, 2021

In 2017 the Navy court-martialed retired Chief Petty Officer Begani for offenses that occurred after he retired from active duty. Chief Begani was convicted and appealed his conviction, arguing that the military should not have jurisdiction to try retired servicemembers for offenses that are committed while they are retired. Initially, a three-judge panel of the … Read more


Army Appellate Court Disapproves 18 Months of Sentence for Soldier Who Was Not Allowed Contact With His Children While Confined

August 25, 2021

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Guinn this week, disapproving 18 months of a four year sentence over restrictions imposed by a confinement facility. SSG Guinn was convicted of one specification of sexual abuse of a child and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, confinement for four years, total … Read more

Can the Department of Defense Require Servicemembers to Get the COVID Vaccine?

August 13, 2021

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the first COVID vaccine for all Americans 16 and older. Shortly after this approval, the Department of Defense (DoD) began vaccinating servicemembers on a voluntary basis. It has recently been reported that the DoD will soon mandate vaccination … Read more

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Navy-Marine Corps Court on Hazing Case

May 14, 2021

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently published its opinion in United States v. Mader reversing a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision in a case involving an NCO’s charged hazing of junior Marines. A Sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines was executing orders out of the unit. A few days … Read more

air force drug conviction

CAAF Reverses Army Court on Hearsay Ruling

April 30, 2021

In June 2020, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Henry affirming the military judge’s decision to exclude four hearsay statements made by the alleged victim and her son. We discussed that opinion here. The government appealed the Army Court decision to the Court of Appeals for the Armed … Read more