United States v. Doyle. Appellant pled guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to nine months, a Dismissal, and a reprimand.
During his first appeal Doyle raised the issue of of sentence inappropriateness and trial counsel error in arguing the dismissed charges and calling him a "monster." NMCCA did not agree, but they specified an issue with the factual basis for the plea to strangling when the term "is neither defined by the military judge nor used in a context to indicate grevious bodily harm was the "natural and probable consequence" of that action."
NMCCA set aside the findings and sentence and authorized a rehearing. Doyle then pled guilty to the lesser offense of A&B; for which he was sentenced to 'no punishment.' The CA disapproved the adjudged 180 days confinement and TF IAW a PTA. On further appeal he has one issue.
(1) Appellant’s commanding officer recommended nonjudicial punishment [NJP] after the State of Florida declined to prosecute Appellant; (2) the trial counsel then scheduled a meeting with the immediate superior in command [ISIC] accusing Appellant of attempted murder; and (3) the ISIC stated that while he had no plan to court-martial Appellant, the meeting made him believe the Navy had already made the decision that the case was going to court-martial.
Appellant sought to attach a Declaration from the Commodore,
[T]he Commodore states in the declaration (1) that he became aware of Appellant’s case while he was the Deputy Commodore; (2) that around the time NJP was recommended, members of Region Legal Service Office [RLSO] Northwest scheduled to meet with him; (3) that during the meeting, the RLSO trial counsel advocated in favor of prosecuting Appellant at court-martial and presented the Commodore with draft charges, which included attempted murder; (4) that prior to the meeting he did not believe Appellant’s case rose to the level of attempted murder and would not have recommended that the case proceed to an Article 32 hearing; (5) that the meeting left him feeling that the Navy had already made the decision that the case was going to court-martial; (6) that after the meeting he adopted the position that the legal process would play out and would provide an opportunity to clarify the matter; and (7) that he reached his decision to recommend an Article 32 hearing on his own and was not coerced by anyone to do so.
NMCCA denied the request to attach the declaration citing Willman and Jessie. The court then holds that there is "no legal basis to grant Appellant’s motion to attach the declaration to the record and decline to consider it. Without the declaration, his claim is baseless." The court then went on to say that even if they had considered the declaration, there still would be no merit to the claim. The court finds that whatever went on was accepted practice for the interactions between a trial counsel and convening authority. And, the court points out it is not "a court of equity."
Disclaimer: Posts are the authors' personal opinions and do not reflect the position of any organization or government agency.
-Current Term Opinions
Joint R. App. Pro.
Army Crim. L. Deskbook