The Express (UK) tells us that the RAF chief [is] told to fix ‘rigged’ Court Martial system after ‘incredibly serious’ allegations.
RAF chief Sir Mike Wigston has been told he must fix its "rigged" court martial system - with a legal expert claiming incidences of incident (sic) exposure, assault, intimidation and even rape were frequently going unpunished.
Cross-posted with GMJR.
Hernandez is ACCA' s refresher on challenges to a member, especially when it involves implied bias. He gets a new trial because the MJ declined to excuse a panel member who “expressed a strongly held belief that consent to sexual intercourse required verbal consent.” (The member's wife was a SARC which was part of the basis for challenge.)
Two prospective members held the same opinion, but one was peremptorily challenged by the defense. (Keep in mind that a peremptory challenge waives the issue, and failure to peremptorily challenge, if there is only one member affected, waives the issue.)
Sergeant First Class@expressed a strongly held belief that consent to sexual intercourse must be expressed verbally. When asked by the defense counsel, "[d]o you think consent to sexual intercourse has to be verbal?" SFC responded, "[y]es." Defense counsel then quoted the definition of consent that the military judge would later use in instructions. and then asked: "[s]o if you saw the words 'consent is a freely given agreement,'you would think that agreement has to be a verbal agreement?" SFC responded with: "(i]t has to be verbal without intoxication."
In denying the challenge the MJ mentioned the liberal grant mandate but found the standard for either an actual or implied bias was not met.
The ACCA focuses on the implied bias issue and notes that
In Sigrah, the court explains R.C.M. 914 and the "Jencks Act.
We reiterate today that the Kohlbek framework is the appropriate prejudice analysis for preserved nonconstitutional R.C.M. 914 error.
R.C.M. 914 requires the government to make available to the defense, after a witness has testified, any statement possessed by the United States that the witness has made. In its opinion, the lower court agreed that the military judge erred in her application of R.C.M. 914. However, the lower court determined that the error did not substantially influence the findings.
On September 1, DoD issued a press release announcing the new numbers for 2021.
Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.
At the same time, DoD has released this CHART/slide show.
A petition of interest courtesy of SCOTUSBlog.
Ruiz v. Massachusetts
Issue: Whether the Fifth and 14th Amendments forbid judges (or prosecutors) from instructing (or inviting) the jury to take into account a non-testifying criminal defendant’s courtroom demeanor as a basis for finding guilt.
Aug 08 2022Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due September 9, 2022)
In Wermuth, the Appellant had several issues including trial counsel's sentencing argument.
Appellant asserts trial counsel’s statement that the court had “heard no evidence” that Appellant had “actually gotten help” during the “yearand-a-half” of investigation was improper because the Defense had no obligation to put on evidence. The implication of trial counsel’s comment was that the Defense had failed to introduce such evidence. We agree this argument by trial counsel was, at a minimum, poorly phrased. Trial counsel is generally not permitted to comment on the failure of the defense to produce evidence. Taylor, 47 M.J. at 324 (C.A.A.F. 1997). Although Taylor and the cases cited therein dealt specifically with evidence for findings, with regard to sentencing evidence this court has noted: “Whenever trial counsel chooses to argue that an accused has not ‘shown’ the sentencing authority something, counsel treads backwards into a mine field in over-sized galoshes while wearing a blindfold.” United States v. Feddersen, No. ACM 39072, 2017 CCA LEXIS 567, at *9 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 21 Aug. 2017) (unpub. op.). In response, the Government cites United States v. Edwards for the principle that trial counsel may comment on an accused’s expression of remorse in an unsworn statement that “can be arguably construed as being shallow, artificial, or contrived.” 35 M.J. 351, 355 (C.M.A. 1992) (citations omitted). However, this response misses the mark. The concern is not that trial counsel commented on Appellant’s unsworn statement, but that he did so by implying the Defense failed to introduce evidence substantiating Appellant’s statement, rather than referring to “other evidence in the record which gives rise to the inference that [the] accused [wa]s not remorseful.”
Interested readers might also want to wade through the discussion of victim impact statements that are attached to the stipulation of fact.
In United States v. Johnson, the sole issue is whether the military judge should have recused himself from presiding over the guilty plea.
Appellant was initially pending action for failing a urinalysis. He thought it might be a good idea to start a fire to destroy the evidence which resulted in charges of arson. While the case was underway another fire arose and a note was left near the scene thought to exculpate the accused. There was a delay in trial to await the results of the investigation. Investigation of the second fire was complete trial restarted. But, a few weeks before trial an exculpatory video showed up on the command's Facebook pages. Another investigation and more delay ensued. There were other delays and continuances in the case because of the pandemic. Well, Appellant ended up with more charges and negotiated a PTA.
Subsequent to entering into a pretrial agreement, Appellant filed a motion for the military judge to recuse himself. Appellant argued there was an appearance of bias because the continuances, and joinder of an additional charge for misconduct during the trial, adversely affected the military judge and his docket. The military judge invited written pleadings, and, in the hearing on the motion, allowed Appellant to voir dire him. Through this questioning, the military judge explained that during sentencing he would consider only the evidence properly admitted, that he harbored no animus towards Appellant, and this would be no different from any other time when he had to compartmentalize information while presiding over courts-martial. The military judge also informed counsel that neither the scheduling complications for the case nor the length of the court-martial caused him any personal problems. Following the military judge’s denial of the recusal motion, Appellant pleaded guilty, and elected trial by military judge alone, after being advised that the same military judge that he requested recuse himself would be his sentencing authority. The parties agreed that Appellant’s guilty plea did not waive the recusal motion on appeal.
NMCCA finds no abuse of discretion with the MJ refusing to recuse himself. It helped that the MJ sentenced Appellant to three years where the PTA allowed up to four. This was an old style PTA where the MJ didn't know the sentence cap. See n. 3.
So, the adage apparently holds that it's not the crime but the cover-up that turns an OTH into three years and a DD.
In United States v. Lizotte, the issues are
(1) the sentence limitation portion of the plea agreement contained impermissible limitations under a plain reading of R.C.M. 705(d) and should not have been accepted.
The issue is not new and n. 3. to the opinion tells us Rivero's status.
82 M.J. 629 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2022) (finding that specific sentence limitations within a plea agreement do not violate the Rules for Courts-Martial or public policy), review granted, __ M.J. __, 2022 CAAF LEXIS 484 (C.A.A.F., July 11, 2022).
CAAF declines to apply the "common authority" doctrine in favor of the Government in Black.
The military judge granted Appellant’s motion, and the Government filed an interlocutory appeal with the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) which reversed. Appellant appealed the ACCA’s decision to this Court, and we reverse again. The military judge did not abuse his discretion in holding: (1) PFC Avery lacked common authority to consent to the search of Appellant’s phone; (2) the Government failed to prove that the evidence was subject to the inevitable discovery doctrine; and (3) Appellant’s later voluntary consent to search the phone was not sufficiently attenuated from the unlawful search to cure that error.
Black appealed ACCA's reversal of the trial court’s decision to suppress photographic evidence of child pornography found on appellant’s cell phone. In suppressing the evidence, the trial judge reasoned that PFC A. – who discovered the photos – did not have common authority to consent to a search of PFC Black’s phone. ACCA disagreed.
Black appealed and CAAF granted review to answer the following question:
“Whether the Army Court erred in its abuse of discretion analysis by (1) creating a novel test for common authority, (2) failing to give deference to the military judge’s findings, (3) comparing a modern cell phone to a traditional “container,” and (4) finding error based on a difference of opinion.”
In deciding the issue of common authority, CAAF concluded that the Military Judge did not abuse his discretion in deciding that PFC A. did not have common authority over the phone when he consented to a search. The CAAF reasoned:
Because we are aware of no binding precedent that equates physical access with common authority or that requires express or actual restrictions on use, we disagree that the military judge misapplied the law.
In addition, there are two new grants.
No. 22-0211/AF. U.S. v. Liam C. Lattin. CCA 39859.
I. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT DID NOT APPLY THE EXCLUSIONARY RULE.
II. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO ADDRESS A SEARCH AUTHORIZATION'S STATED EXPIRATION DATE.
No. 22-0230/AR. U.S. v. Tristen D. Willey. CCA 20210631.
I. WHETHER TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL'S WITHDRAWAL OF A MOTION FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF ON THE GROUNDS OF MULTIPLICITY AND UNREASONABLE MULTIPLICATION OF CHARGES WAIVED APPELLATE REVIEW OF THE MILITARY JUDGE'S ALLEGED ERROR OF ACCEPTING APPELLANT'S GUILTY PLEAS TO FACIALLY DUPLICATIVE OFFENSES.
II. WHETHER ANY OF THE OFFENSES IN THIS CASE WERE FACIALLY DUPLICATIVE, AND IF SO, WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ERRED IN ACCEPTING APPELLANT'S GUILTY PLEAS TO THOSE OFFENSES.
Jake is a 2L at Villanova Law who is externing with NIMJ.
Forum shopping rejected because USMJ also had jurisdiction over search warrant. NCIS presented a search authorization that a military judge later determined was likely lacking in the showing of probable cause. To remedy that, NCIS did a new affidavit for warrant and presented it to a USMJ also with potential jurisdiction over the offense. This suggested forum shopping, but the USMJ did have jurisdiction, so the exclusionary rule would not be applied. United States v. Kunishige, 2022 CCA LEXIS 494 (N.-M. Ct. Crim. App. Aug. 23, 2022) (unpublished):
While the chain of events may initially give one pause over concerns of forum shopping, we are confident this was not the case here. First, the record establishes that the District Court had jurisdiction over both the offense and the place where the object of the search warrant was located. Second, the supporting affidavit clearly explained why NCIS was seeking authority from the District Court and not a military magistrate. As found by the military judge, NCIS went to great lengths to ensure nothing related to the earlier searches or any evidence collected after 19 January 2017 tainted the new warrant. The decision to seek a warrant from the District Court reflected the agents’ belief in the fact it was unlikely that any military judge at Camp Pendleton would be free of knowledge of the case—particularly regarding the results of the February 2020 search.
Sort of guest post
from John Wesley Hall, Fourth Amendment.com. His site is one of our daily reads.
Disclaimer: Posts are the authors' personal views and do not reflect the position of any organization or government agency.
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