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Court Martial Appeals Blog

If I choose the wrong attorney to defend me, can’t I just later appeal the court-martial claiming that I had a bad defense counsel?

The claim that you received ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) is an appeal that can be made following a court-martial. However, this claim must come with evidentiary support. It is not an easy claim to make and for that reason it often is not a successful argument on appeal. Counsel are presumed competent, and the […]

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CAAF decides Power Bars should not get you court-martialed, reversing the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals.

In August, I posted a blog about the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals decision in United States v. Pugh. See https://courtmartial.com/can-power-bars-get-court-martialed/. Major Pugh was charged with use of drugs, and willful dereliction of duty by consuming Strong and Kind bars, both of which contain hemp seeds, in violation of AFI 90-507. Major Pugh was […]

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Just because there is a search warrant doesn’t mean they can search whatever they want! CAAF to hear my argument this week.

This week I am set to argue in front of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) on behalf of my client, Captain Eppes, an Air Force officer. In this case, special agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) went beyond the scope of a search warrant when they searched […]

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Army conviction may be reversed by CAAF for prosecutor misconduct.

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) will be hearing oral argument in United States v. Short on Tuesday, 24 October 2017. In this case, CAAF will be determining whether Sergeant Short’s conviction based on allegations of domestic abuse should be reversed due to prosecutorial misconduct. The courts have determined that prosecutorial misconduct occurs […]

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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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