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Life sentence reversed on Appeal.

We are thrilled to announce that the Army Court reversed our client’s convictions for two specifications of premeditated murder.  Our client did not pull the trigger, but the law considers an aider and abettor to be as guilty as the person who actually perpetrated the crime.  Our client, a junior Soldier, got a phone call from his NCO to meet him at the library.  The NCO carried a handgun and told our client of his plan to kill his estranged wife’s boyfriend.  The perpetrator ultimately killed the boyfriend and a friend who happened to be at the apartment.  Our client pled guilty to two specifications of premeditated murder as an aider and abettor.  The law requires an aider and abettor to have the same intent as the perpetrator and for the aider and abettor to participate in the crime as something he wishes to bring about.  Our client did not have this intent and the military judge admitted as much during the trial and in his clemency recommendation to the convening authority.  The military judge’s recognition that our client did not have the requisite intent was error, as was his failure to properly instruct our client on the elements of the offense.  The Army Court wholly agreed with our argument on appeal and set aside our client’s convictions.  The decision was unanimous and will serve as precedent in future cases.  Some days it feels like there is no justice in the military justice system, but today our client was vindicated.  This case was close to our hearts and we are elated for our client and his family. Read the full opinion here.

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