Police and prosecutors…they can’t just do and say what they want.
Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) heard two unique court-martial appeal cases, one of which involves the police overstepping their bounds during a search and the other involves a prosecutor overdoing it during his closing statement at the court-martial. On March 8, 2013, in U.S. v. Cote, CAAF determined that a military judge correctly suppressed evidence that an investigator gathered from a computer hard drive after the 90-day warrant to search had expired. CAAF stated that during the court-martial proceedings, the government simply did not show why the violation of the warrant was reasonable under the circumstances. The finding of guilty and sentence in this case were set aside. So in other words, this was a win for the appellant. On March 20, 2013, CAAF heard oral arguments in U.S. v. Soloman. One of the big issues in this case is whether the prosecutor affected the rights of the accused at the court-martial, when he did a bit of ranting during his closing argument and rebuttal argument. The prosecutor told the court-martial panel whose testimony they should believe and then went on to state that the defense’s theory was a bunch of “smoke and mirrors” and was “absolutely ridiculous.” CAAF will decide whether the prosecutor acted inappropriately or not, and if they determine that the appellant’s rights were materially prejudiced, it will be another win for the appellant. These two cases show that police and prosecutors have limits. When these limits are broken, the rights of the Soldier, Airman or Sailor on trial at a court-martial can be affected. If you believe that the government overstepped their bounds during your court-martial or are doing it to you right now, you need help from someone with experience. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.