Ali pled guilty to indecent visual recordings and possession of CP. He was sentenced to 48 months, RiR, and a DD.
This is a "straddle" case where his primary appellate issue was IAC " for failing to adequately explain Appellant’s options regarding sentencing procedures and for advising Appellant to elect sentencing procedures in accordance with rules implemented pursuant to the Military Justice Act of 2016 (MJA 16)[.]"
Appellant claims that had he been better informed about the MJA 16 sentencing procedures election, he would not have agreed to an MJA 16 plea agreement even if it would have meant settling for a PTA with a higher possible sentence limitation. He asserts that the outcome would have been different had he elected pre-MJA 16 sentencing procedures because he could have fared better in sentencing.
The court rejects the argument based partly on it being speculative and because of the declarations submitted to the court by the defense counsel explaining their advice and reasoning for their recommendation.
There is nothing in the record to indicate that but for his counsels’ alleged error, Appellant would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.
The court rejected Appellant's claim that the sentence was unreasonable.
Appellant’s offenses were serious and had lasting impacts on the victims. He admitted to having secretly recorded his undressed fellow shipmates over a period of months while they were living in the very close confines of a deployed submarine. Appellant unlawfully made videos capturing at least 40 Sailors—13 of whom were identified by NCIS—which he filed away for personal viewing and maintained for nearly four years until their discovery by law enforcement. Multiple victims testified about the impacts of Appellant’s offenses, describing persistent physical reactions when considering the crime, loss of trust, and feeling “disgusted.”47 Additionally, Appellant admitted to having purchased thousands of images and videos of children engaged in sexual acts, in which over 350 victims were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Appellant sought out and paid for these images and videos, and then kept them for years on multiple electronic devices until they were seized by law enforcement. In mitigation, Appellant presented evidence of his long naval career, acceptance of responsibility, expressions of remorse, and efforts at rehabilitation. Nonetheless, . . .
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-Current Term Opinions
Joint R. App. Pro.
Army Crim. L. Deskbook