Court-Martial case remanded on appeal because the transcript was not complete.

You may have a valid appeal from your court-martial simply based on an administrative error in the transcript.  Recently, the Court of the Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) in U.S. v. Davenport remanded the case because testimony from a government witness was completely missing from the transcript.  CAAF determined that the absence of an entire witness’ testimony is substantial enough to dub the transcript “nonverbatim” in violation of Rules for Court Martial (R.C.M.) 1103.  R.C.M. 1103(b)(2)(B) requires that a verbatim transcript be prepared in a General Court-Martial when 1) “any part of the sentence adjudged exceeds six months confinement, forfeiture of pay greater than two-thirds pay per month, or any forfeiture of pay for more than six months or other punishments that may be adjudged by a special court-martial” or 2)  “a bad conduct discharge has been adjudged.”  The Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) in Davenport determined that because the missing testimony was mostly pertinent to one of the charges the appellant was acquitted of at his court-martial, the missing testimony did not require the case to be remanded.  CAAF however, disagreed with ACCA and reversed and remanded the case.  Last year, I represented a client in appellate matters and he had a similar thing happen.  The government lost one of my client’s sentencing exhibits and he was granted a sentencing rehearing by ACCA because of that administrative error.  Later, at CAAF, I was able to get one of my client’s charges dismissed with prejudice and one of his charges reduced to a lesser included offense for a completely separate reason.  This was a successful appeal all around.  If you or your loved one has been court-martialed, a successful appeal may be there based on the government’s administrative error or for some other reason.  I have a lot of court-martial and appellate experience.  I can read the record of trial from a court-martial and immediately know what issues to appeal.  I have also argued in front of all the appellate courts.  If you or your loved one is looking for representation at a court-martial or court-martial appeal, experience is what you need.  I have that.  To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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