Make sure you don’t miss your deadline to appeal!

If your service Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) had denied your appeal, you can either request reconsideration by that court or you can appeal to the higher court called the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF).  However, you must be mindful of the deadlines.  Once a decision is made by your service CCA, an appellant has only 30 days to request reconsideration by that court.  If an appellant decides to appeal to CAAF, there is a 60 day deadline from the CCA decision or reconsideration.  This is not a lot of time.  Therefore, if you are interested in going this route, you need to act fast and you need to make sure you have an attorney with experience that you trust.  In an Air Force case called United States v. Lebella, the appellant’s detailed defense counsel failed to seek CAAF review within 60 days and also failed to seek reconsideration from the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) within 30 days.  Therefore, all deadlines were missed.  After appellant got a new defense counsel, he filed an out-of-time petition to the AFCCA.  The AFCCA agreed to review the case despite the deadline being missed.  The AFCCA did not grant the appellant any relief on his case.  Appellant then appealed the decision to CAAF.  In December 2015, CAAF denied appellant the right to appeal and held that the AFCCA was wrong to have reviewed the case because that court did not have jurisdiction due to the missed deadline.  Following CAAF’s decision, appellant filed a petition to AFCCA arguing that he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel when his defense counsel failed to file his appeal on time.  The AFCCA denied the petition stating that appellant failed to establish that he was prejudiced by his defense counsel’s failure to file on time.  In order to establish prejudice, appellant would have to show that there was a reasonable probability that CAAF would have provided relief if the appeal was on time.  This case shows you need an experienced attorney by your side if you are going to be successful in your appeal to a military court.  You need someone who understands the deadlines and how to establish prejudice.  I have that experience.  Call me now, I can help you or your loved one with an upcoming court-martial or court-martial appeal.  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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