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Court Martial Appeals Blog

Defense Failure to Object Dooms Issue on Appeal

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On June 7th, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces issued an opinion in United States v. Gonzales. This opinion reinforces how important it is for defense counsel to get objections and concerns on the record during trial. Specialist Gonzales was charged with, among other offenses, rape of a child, which requires penetration, however […]

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Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals Overturns Sexual Assault Conviction Over Improper Search Authorizations

Discharge Review

The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) recently decided the case of United States v. Armendariz. Master Sergeant Armendariz was a member of MWSS-373 in July 2016. The majority of the squadron, along with its Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel W, were deployed at the time and MSgt Armendariz was part of the Remain Behind […]

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Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Affirms Conviction Where Search Was Conducted Without Probable Cause

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The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently affirmed the conviction in United States v. Perkins despite a finding by the lower court that the search of Sergeant Perkins’ home was conducted without probable cause. In 2015, a civilian woman contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) onboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma […]

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Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reaffirms Sexual Assault as a General Intent Crime

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In United States v. McDonald, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) examined the required mens rea, or criminal intent, necessary for a conviction of sexual assault. PFC McDonald’s roommate invited a woman over to his barracks room. He told her that no one else would be in the room. The woman testified […]

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The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Itself on the Statute of Limitations in Rape Cases

Article 43(a) of the UCMJ establishes the statute of limitations for military offenses. The statute of limitations is the timeframe for prosecuting criminal offenses in military courts that applies to a particular offense. From 1986 to 2006, the military had five years from the date of most offenses to charge someone with that offense. The […]

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Court-Martial Sentencing Procedures Change in 2019

Discharge Review

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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