Obtained reversal of all charges for Army Specialist convicted of child molestation and sentenced to 25 years

Mr. Cassara secured a reversal of all court-martial charges for an Army Specialist serving 25 years confinement at Fort Leavenworth. The Specialist was convicted by a Military Judge, sitting alone, at Fort Eustis, VA. After the Army Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction, Mr. Cassara petitioned the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for review. Mr. Cassara argued that the Military Judge substantially prejudiced the rights of the appellant when she closed the courtroom to allow the alleged victim to testify in secrecy. Mr. Cassara argued that such an arrangement violated the rights of the accused to a public trial, and created an atmosphere that fostered false allegations. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces agreed and set aside the entire conviction. Decision allows the soldier to leave Fort Leavenworth (where he had served three and a half year’s confinement) and to be reinstated on active duty.

United States v. Ortiz (Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, May 2008) (PDF)

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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