William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

We have discussed the hearsay rule on several occasions. The rule against hearsay is intended to provide an accused the chance to directly confront witnesses against him or her. Statements made out of court cannot be repeated by witnesses at trial as evidence that the substance of the statements are true. For example, if LCpl … Read more

Court of Appeals

The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) this week issued an order denying a writ of mandamus filed by an alleged crime victim who argued that she had a right to be heard by the military trial judge concerning a defense requested trial continuance. A TSgt is currently facing trial on four charges, one … Read more

Discharge Review

This blog has discussed the evidentiary rules regarding hearsay several times. Essentially, hearsay statements are those made outside of the trial process and then introduced by a witness or document during the trial. As a general rule, these statements are excluded from evidence because every accused person has the constitutional right to confront his or … Read more

In 2017 the Navy court-martialed retired Chief Petty Officer Begani for offenses that occurred after he retired from active duty. Chief Begani was convicted and appealed his conviction, arguing that the military should not have jurisdiction to try retired servicemembers for offenses that are committed while they are retired. Initially, a three-judge panel of the … Read more

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the first COVID vaccine for all Americans 16 and older. Shortly after this approval, the Department of Defense (DoD) began vaccinating servicemembers on a voluntary basis. It has recently been reported that the DoD will soon mandate vaccination … Read more

air force drug conviction

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Discharge Review

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 … Read more