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Court Martial Appeals Blog

Court-Martial Sentencing Procedures Change in 2019

The Military Justice Act, passed in 2016, took effect on January 1, 2019. Among the many changes to military justice practice the new law includes adjustments to sentencing procedures. These changes seem primarily to address the disparity in sentences under the previous procedures. Until this year, if an accused elected to be tried by members […]

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A New Type of Special Court-Martial Debuts in 2019

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Extensive changes to military justice went into effect on January 1, 2019. One of the biggest changes was the addition of a new type of court-martial. Article 16(c)(2)(A) allows a special court-martial convening authority to refer charges to a special court-martial consisting of a military judge alone. Unlike when the charges are tried at a […]

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Big Changes to Military Justice in 2019

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In 2016, Congress passed the Military Justice Act of 2016. These significant changes to the UCMJ and the Manual for Courts-Martial came into effect on January 1, 2019. While the law did create some new offenses, the biggest changes came in the procedures associated with courts-martial. Here are some of the most important changes: 1) […]

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CAAF Determines that Navy DJAG Improperly Influenced a Rear Admiral in Navy Seal Sexual Assault Case

In early 2014, Senior Chief Barry was charged with two specifications of sexual assault. He eventually went to trial and was convicted of one specification by a military judge. The finding and sentence came up to RADM Lorge, the Commander of Naval Region Southwest-San Diego for action. Although the Rules for Court-Martial governing the case […]

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What is an unreasonable multiplication of charges, and why does it matter?

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If you have ever read a court-martial charge sheet, you have probably wondered how one allegation of a crime could turn into five different charges. Prosecutors frequently break an incident down into multiple offenses when they prepare the charge sheet. For example, one fistfight could end up with several specifications of assault, one for each […]

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Alleged victim’s refusal to participate in proceeding involving alleged sexual assault could lead to a speedy trial dismissal for the accused.

On 29 November 2016, Private Hendrix was charged with two specifications of sexual assault. However, the alleged victim refused to participate and testify in the proceedings. Therefore, eventually, the convening authority dismissed the charges. One day later, the alleged victim decided she did want to participate in a trial against the accused. The convening authority […]

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The Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals reverses sexual assault conviction based on appellant’s right to choose his military defense counsel.

Yeoman Second Class Cooper (appellant) was convicted at a court-martial of three specifications of sexual assault and one specification of abusive sexual contact. He was sentenced to five years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Appellant’s conviction was based on the allegations of Petty Officer Second […]

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Military Judge failed to recuse himself, findings in sexual assault case set aside.

On 15 March 2018, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) set aside the findings and sentence in United States v. Vargas because a military judge failed to recuse himself when he should have. In this case, Senior Airman (E-4) Vargas (appellant) was convicted of two specifications of attempted abusive sexual contact, three specifications […]

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