Even if you “waive all waivable motions” at your guilty plea, you may still have a valid appeal based on one of the motions you waived!

In most cases, as part of one’s guilty plea at a court-martial, the accused is asked to sign a pretrial agreement.  There are several agreements made in the pretrial agreement.  For example, sometimes an accused can waive his right to an Article 32 preliminary hearing or the opportunity to have certain witnesses attend his court-martial and testify.  An accused might agree to these types of things, so that the government will agree to a cap on his sentence.  For example, in exchange for waiving the Article 32 hearing and pleading guilty at his court-martial, an accused might be given a deal that states that even if the military judge or panel gives him three years confinement, he will serve no more than one year.  Sometimes the government might ask an accused to “waive all waivable motions” as part of his pretrial agreement.  This means that any motion the accused might want to bring that can legally be waived, the accused will waive his opportunity to raise it at the court-martial.  Recently, in United States v. Chin, however, a waiver of all waivable motions did not preclude an appellant from getting some relief from the appellate courts.  In this case, the appellant was charged with repetitive charges involving mishandling classified information.  He pled guilty at his court-martial and waived all waivable motions in his pretrial agreement.  Then later, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) ruled that he had been charged with an unreasonable multiplication of charges and dismissed three of his charges.  The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently reviewed the decision made by the AFCCA to determine if they erred in dismissing these charges due to the fact that the appellant waived all motions including a motion regarding unreasonable multiplication of charges.  CAAF determined that the AFCCA did not err and had the power to do what they did in the appellant’s case.  This means that even if you pled guilty at your court-martial and waived all waivable motions, you may still get relief from the appellate courts.  If you or your loved one is facing a court-martial or would like to explore his appeal rights, call me.  I have a vast amount of experience with both court-martials and court-martial appeals.  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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