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Court Martial Appeals Blog

Three panel members lied. CAAF overturns conviction saying that mistrial should have been granted.

In June 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) overturned a conviction for several alleged offenses in the Army case United States v. Commisso because three panel members lied when they stated that they had no prior knowledge of the case. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Commisso was convicted by a general court-martial […]

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CAAF reviewing whether a Commander felt pressured into approving findings of guilty when he wanted to disapprove them.

Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) has agreed to review a Navy case called United States v. Barry. In this case, Senior Chief Barry was found guilty of sexual assault. Following his court-martial, Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge approved the findings of guilty as the convening authority. Senior Chief Barry appealed the […]

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Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals reverses conviction due to an error in the terms of the guilty plea.

Prior to pleading guilty in a court-martial, typically an “offer to plead guilty” or a pretrial agreement (PTA) is constructed by the defense counsel and the terms are agreed to by the government. In the PTA, the accused is offering to plead guilty at a court-martial in exchange for certain things. For instance, an accused […]

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Army Court Drastically Changes Decades of Appellate Military Justice Practice

On 7 September 2017, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals upended decades of appellate military justice practice without any warning to the Defense Appellate Division, the Government Appellate Division, and the civilian appellate defense counsel who regularly practice and appear before that Court.  In United States v. Tovar-Chavez, the Army Court has now decided that […]

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Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Overturns Offenses

On 14 June 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned and dismissed two offenses for one of our Coast Guard clients. The CAAF decision about whether an amendment to a specification was a minor or major change overruled YEARS of precedent for all the military courts of criminal appeals. Because of our […]

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Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upholds judge’s suppression of cell phone evidence due to Fifth Amendment violation.

Army Sergeant (SGT) Mitchell was accused of using his cell phone to harass his wife. After SGT Mitchell was escorted to the military police station, he was read his rights. SGT Mitchell invoked his 5th Amendment right to an attorney. However, two hours after invoking his right to counsel, the police asked SGT Mitchell to […]

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Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals reverses conviction despite finding appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

On August 17, 2017, the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) reversed the conviction of Navy Specialist Prince Wiredu in United States v. Wiredu. In this case, Specialist Wiredu was accused of sexually assaulting three different women. Over the defense’s objection, the prosecution was allowed to use each allegation to prove Specialist Wiredu’s propensity to […]

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AFCCA finds judge erred in not admitting evidence of consensual sex following alleged sexual assault.

Recently, on 16 August 2017, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) reviewed a military judge’s decision to exclude evidence under M.R.E. 412 in United States v. Leonhardt. In this case, a female Air Force Academy cadet accused 2LT Leonhardt, a male Air Force Academy cadet, of raping her after inviting her back to […]

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Army Court of Criminal Appeals determines that counsel have only one chance to object during closing argument.

Recently, on 5 July 2017, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) held that appellant, Sergeant (SGT) Kelly waived his right to claim on appeal that the government argued improperly when his defense counsel failed to object to the argument at the court-martial. In this case, SGT Kelly was accused of sexually assaulting a female […]

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