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Military Law Blog

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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Newly Announced Department of Defense Guidelines

On August 25, 2017, the Department of Defense announced clarifying guidance to the Military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military Records for Veterans who petition for either an upgrade or a correction to their discharges based on mental health conditions, such as PTSD and TBI, that existed at the time of discharge […]

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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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Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals holds that victim’s right to not be excluded from an Article 32 hearing has limits.

Recently, in A.M. v. United States and Densford, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) reviewed a claim from an alleged sexual assault victim that she was excluded from parts of the preliminary Article 32 hearing in violation of Article 6b of the UCMJ. Under Article 6b(a)(3), the alleged victim of a UCMJ offense […]

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Can a retired service member be court-martialed?

Yes.  The Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) in United States v. Dinger recently held that a retired servicemember can face a court-martial for offenses committed after retirement. In Dinger, retired Gunnery Sergeant Dinger was accused of indecent acts, attempting to produce child pornography, possessing child pornography and making an indecent visual recording.  The alleged […]

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What does it mean to relax the rules of evidence during the sentencing phase of a court-martial?

If a servicemember is found guilty at his court-martial during the findings phase of the trial, the court-martial will then have a sentencing phase.  This is the phase of the court-martial where the panel or military judge determines what sentence the servicemember will receive for the offenses for which he was found guilty.  If a […]

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