The Government lost my client’s sentencing exhibit and one of his charges was dismissed, so he gets two opportunities for a new sentence!

Last week on May 23, 2013, after hearing my oral argument, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) ruled in favor of my client.  At my client’s original court-martial in 2008, the Government lost one of the exhibits submitted for sentencing.  This exhibit is sometimes nicknamed a “good soldier book” because it is a common sentencing exhibit submitted at a court-martial that consists of awards, medals and other paperwork displaying the achievements of an accused during his military career.  When the exhibit was lost, I appealed on behalf of my client stating that without the exhibit, his achievements were not fully considered by the court-martial panel which sentenced him.  The appellate court in 2010 ordered a separate hearing to determine whether the omission of this exhibit was substantial and whether it amounted to an incomplete court-martial record.  Disappointed in this ruling, I then appealed to the CAAF asking for extraordinary relief.  This request was granted and CAAF stopped the hearing and sent the case back to the original appellate court.  The appellate court then set aside my client’s original court-martial sentence and authorized a sentence rehearing.  During this rehearing three years were taken off of my client’s confinement sentence!  Last week, CAAF then reviewed two issues in the case.  CAAF reviewed the issue of whether the appellate court abused its discretion in ordering the sentence rehearing and whether an Article 134 charge should be set aside for failing to state an offense.  We were successful on both issues.  CAAF found that the appellate court was correct to authorize a sentence rehearing based on the lost court-martial exhibit and the Article 134 charge was set aside as failing to state an offense.  CAAF then remanded the case back to the appellate court for a sentence reassessment based on the set aside finding.  What a great result for my client!  This is a complicated case and it takes experience and expertise to know what issues to raise and when to appeal.  I have that experience and expertise.  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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