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Charges can be dismissed on appeal simply because of the way they are written.

If you were convicted at a court-martial of an Article 134 charge, you need to dig up that charge sheet and take a close look at it.  Recently, court-martial appellate courts have been paying close attention to the wording of Article 134 charges and granting relief to appellants when the charges are not written properly.  For instance, in 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) ruled that an Article 134 charge is faulty if it fails to specifically allege that an appellant’s conduct was (1) “to the prejudice of good order and discipline,” (2) “of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces,” or (3) a “crime[ or] offense not capital.”  Then, more recently, on April 3, 2013 the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals set aside a finding of guilty to an Article 134 conviction, because while it specifically alleged that the conduct was “prejudicial to good order and discipline,” the charge did not specifically include the word “wrongfully.”  In that particular case, without the word “wrongfully,” the charge failed to state a court-martial offense.  So, with that said, sometimes convictions get overturned on appeal simply because the prosecutor used the wrong wording when drafting the charge.  Dig up that charge sheet and give me a call if you were convicted at a court-martial of an Article 134 charge that may have been badly worded and your case has not already been decided on appeal.  In fact, if you were convicted at a court-martial of another charge and believe that the charge may have failed to state an offense as written, give me a call if your case has not already been decided on appeal.  I have the experience to know whether you have a case on appeal.  To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.

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