Military Law Blog

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Navy-Marine Corps Court on Hazing Case

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently published its opinion in United States v. Mader reversing a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision in a case involving an NCO’s charged hazing of junior Marines. A Sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines was executing orders out of the unit. A few days …

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air force drug conviction

CAAF Reverses Army Court on Hearsay Ruling

In June 2020, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Henry affirming the military judge’s decision to exclude four hearsay statements made by the alleged victim and her son. We discussed that opinion here. The government appealed the Army Court decision to the Court of Appeals for the Armed …

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Court of Appeals Clarifies Law on Aiding and Abetting

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently released its opinion in United States v. Simpson. Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Simpson had communicated with a woman, MB, whom he encouraged to take pictures and videos of another individual while in various states of undress without that individual’s consent. MB had complied and, at GySgt Simpson’s …

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Discharge Review

CAAF Sets Aside Sentence in Case After Improper Argument by Prosecutors

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces [CAAF] released a decision in United States v. Norwood on February 24, 2021. Petty Officer Norwood’s niece alleged that he had sexually abused her. At trial, the prosecutors made several improper and inflammatory arguments to the members. Prosecutors can make strong arguments on the state of the …

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William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Supreme Court Reverses CAAF on Statute of Limitations in Military Rape Cases

From 1986 to 2006, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) listed several offenses as eligible for the death penalty. One of those offenses was rape of an adult. The UCMJ stated that offenses “punishable by death” had no statute of limitations. This meant that these types of cases could be brought to trial at …

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UCMJ

UCMJ Changes JAG Review for Courts-Martial

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) underwent several significant changes as a result of the 2016 Military Justice Act. Those changes went into effect on January 1, 2019 and include a new approach to Judge Advocate General (JAG) review of cases that do not qualify for appellate review. Pre-2019 JAG Review Prior to 2019, …

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Air Force Court Reverses Military Judge’s Dismissal of Sexual Assault Charge

In January 2016, Senior Airman Harrington was at a party with several individuals. SSgt FC, LB, and TSgt KW were at the party as well. The group played several drinking games, including an “adult” version of Jenga. The game required individuals to perform tasks, such as removing articles of clothing or taking “body shots” from …

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Navy Criminal Appeals

Navy-Marine Corps Court Affirms Assault Conviction for HIV Positive Marine

NMCCA issued an opinion in the case of US v Lewis this week. Sgt Lewis was convicted of three specifications of failure to obey a lawful order, one specification of sexual assault by causing bodily harm, one specification of indecent viewing, and one specification of assault consummated by a battery. On appeal, Sgt Lewis argued …

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Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Limits the Use of Prior Statements at Trial

Military rules of evidence generally do not allow hearsay statements to be admitted at trial. Hearsay statements are statements made outside of court that are offered as proof of the substance of that statement. There are several exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as statements included in regular business records. Other types of statements are …

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Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals Finds That Government Did Not Prove Sexual Assault Offenses Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In 2018, the Marine Corps tried Cpl Lewis on several sexual assault charges. The panel convicted him of attempted sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, and sexual assault. The Government charged that these offenses occurred when the alleged victim, Cpl Alpha, was incapable of consenting due to impairment by alcohol. The panel found Cpl Lewis not …

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