In United States v. Prasad, 80 M.J. 23 C.A.A.F. 2020), the court set aside the findings and sentence.
Appellant was tried before our recent decisions held that is it impermissible to use Military Rule of Evidence (M.R.E.) 413 propensity evidence "as a mechanism for admitting evidence of charged conduct to which an accused has pleaded not guilty in order to show a propensity to commit the very same charged conduct." However, the Hills and Hukill decisions were issued by the time Appellant's case was reviewed by the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. Citing our holding in those cases, the lower court held that the military judge erred in Appellant's case by permitting evidence of the charged sexual offenses to be used as M.R.E. 413 propensity evidence and by instructing the members accordingly. Consequently, the Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the finding of guilt and the sentence as to Specification 1 of Additional Charge II 3 and authorized a rehearing. However, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the remaining findings of guilt as to Specifications 1 and 3 of the Charge, finding the Hills error for those specifications to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
Id. at 25. I am noting the court-martial case here because of a parallel civil case Prasad had until March 10, 2022, in the District Court for North Dakota, Prasad v. Henson.
Prasad was a service member in the United States Air Force. In general terms, this case originated with a military case against Prasad, which began in 2015. Prasad's military case has a convoluted procedural history that the Court need not address with any particularity for purposes of this Order. See, e.g., Doc. No. 1-6, pp. 19-20 (where a military judge noted that the "complexity of the case is well documented in its Article 32 investigations, trial, and sentence rehearing"). Suffice it to say, the nature of Prasad's military case prompted him to file his Petition with this Court on March 12, 2021.
The court dismissed the case without prejudice. An interesting read.
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