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Military Law Blog

Army Court of Criminal Appeals reverses conviction based on a bad search.

On 13 December 2017, in United States v. Morales, the Army Court of Criminal Appeal (ACCA) reversed PFC Morales’ court-martial conviction for abusive sexual content, indecent viewing and indecent recording. In this case, a female soldier alleged that PFC Morales sexually touched her while massaging her legs. After the alleged touching the female soldier and […]

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Will my court-martial automatically be appealed to the appellate courts?

In many circumstances, a court-martial case will be automatically reviewed by the appropriate service Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). There is an Army CCA, Air Force CCA, Navy-Marine CCA and a Coast Guard CCA. Article 66 of the UCMJ dictates which court-martial cases will be automatically heard by the service courts of criminal appeals. Currently, […]

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Military Law Matters Podcast 16- Appeals

Convicted by a court-martial–It isn’t over until the appeals are over–how you can walk out of prison after your conviction: Interview of Bill Cassara, a retired US Army Reserve JAG. Bill specializes in criminal law to include courts-martial. Bill explains what happens after your court-martial has ended and you are appealing your conviction. Bill walks […]

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Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals gives appellant an entire year off of his confinement because the Air Force missed a hearing.

In 2014, in United States v. Katso, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) reversed an appellant’s convictions of aggravated sexual assault, burglary, and unlawful entry, for which the appellant was sentenced to confinement for ten years, total forfeitures, and a dishonorable discharge. The reversal was based on the AFCCA’s finding that a DNA […]

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Can an incomplete and unfiled written reprimand be used against me in my court-martial?

Today on November 28, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) is set to review this very issue in United States v. Jerkins. In this case, Army Major Jerkins was convicted of assault consummated by a battery upon a child after hitting his three-year-old step-son with a belt. Following his conviction, MAJ […]

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Service Appellate Courts’ application of CAAF’s ruling regarding the propensity instruction appear inconsistent.

In United States v. Hills in 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) held that if a servicemember is charged with more than one sexual offense in a court-martial, one charge cannot be used as “propensity evidence” to show that one of the other charges occurred. More specifically, the Court held that […]

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Recent Argument

I had the honor of arguing the case of United States v. Eppes at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces last week.  I have argued before this court on numerous occasions, and this is the third time I have been asked to participate in a “Project Outreach” argument. They do these arguments at […]

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Valor Radio

While in NY recently, I had the privilege of appearing on the radio show Valor Radio, which covers military and veteran’s affairs. We discussed a wide range of military legal topics, including the Bowe Bergdahl trial, the case involving the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, VADM Crawford, the contempt proceedings against BG Baker, and […]

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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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