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Friday, October 17, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Military Member Found Not Guilty of All Charges and Specification at Military Sexual Assault Court-Martial Trial (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 134)



Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military enlisted member who faced a court-martial trial in which he was accused of sexual assault of an acquaintance/co-worker and sexual harassment of the same individual was found not guilty of all charges and specifications at his military court-martial trial.  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.). 

The military member was accused of sexual assault (abusive sexual contact, UCMJ Article 120) on three occasions and sexual harassment (sexual remarks, UCMJ Article 134) over the course of months.  The case was based solely on the word of the complainant.  At court-martial trial, the complainant was cross-examined about the work environment that she participated in, inconsistencies between her story and what she told others, and comments and behavior of hers that made no sense in light of the allegations she was making (including Snapchat activity, Facebook activity, and Twitter posts).  Ultimately, based on questions raised about the complainant’s credibility and the believability of her story, the accused military member was found not guilty of all charges and specifications (full acquittal). 

Had there been a conviction in the case, the military member could have been sentenced to significant jail time, a punitive discharge, reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted rank, forfeitures of all pay and allowances and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender. 

While this military court-martial case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case.  No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:


We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

Friday, October 10, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Military Child Sexual Assault Court-Martial Case against Non-Commissioned Officer Dropped by Government (UCMJ Article 120)



Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military non-commissioned officer who was facing a general court-martial in which he was accused of sexual assault of a child had his case withdrawn and dismissed (dropped) after a second Article 32 hearing.  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.). 

Originally, the member faced allegations that he sexually assaulted the minor child and that he knowingly possessed child pornography on his computer.  The first Article 32 hearing was presided over by a field grade Judge Advocate (JAG) and, based on significant holes in the case, including credibility or reliability issues, the Article 32 Investigating Officer recommended dropping the case.  The case, however, was not dropped.  Additional interviews were conducted by military law enforcement, prosecutors, and a new expert, and new charges were preferred against the military member.  Specifically, the member was accused of (1) aggravated sexual assault of a child who had not attained the age of 12; and (2) indecent liberties with a child who had not attained the age of 12. 

During the second Article 32 hearing, more holes were exposed.  The various statements had significant inconsistencies, there were issues of witness tainting by a family member and experts, the “forensic child interview” methodology was challenged, and scholarly articles were introduced to call into question the investigation and interviewing of the child.  The second Article 32 hearing was presided over by a different field grade Judge Advocate (JAG), and this Investigating Officer also recommended dropping the case. 

The case was reviewed by two different military legal offices and two different chains-of-command within two completely different military commands.  Finally, the case was dropped. 

Had the case gone to a general court-martial trial as originally intended by the government, the maximum authorized punishment for a court-martial conviction on the allegations in this case would have included decades in prison, dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1, total forfeitures of pay and allowances, and sex offender registration would have been required. 

While this military court-martial case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case.  No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:


We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

Friday, September 19, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Military Rape and Sexual Assault Cases (UCMJ article 120) – Article about False Rape Allegations




Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News: 

Thank you Cathy Young.  In a thought provoking Article in Slate.com, Cathy Young addresses false rape allegations.  See Slate.com article here:


The article includes the following excellent points:

In challenging “the myth of the lying woman,” feminists have been creating their own counter-myth: that of the woman who never lies.”

“…seeking justice for female victims should make us more sensitive, not less, to justice for unfairly accused men. In practical terms, that means finding ways to show support for victims of sexual violence without equating accusation and guilt, and recognizing that the wrongly accused are real victims too. It means not assuming that only a conviction is a fair outcome for an alleged sex crime. It means, finally, rejecting laws and policies rooted in the assumption that wrongful accusations are so vanishingly rare they needn’t be a cause for concern. To put it simply, we need to stop presuming guilt.”

It is a true shame that reasonable, intelligent voices like Cathy Young’s are drowned out in the one-sided “debate” regarding rape and sexual assault allegations in the military justice system (UCMJ Article 120).  Just as Cathy Young discusses in her article, the slanted public narrative regarding the military justice system is that there is an “epidemic” of rape within the military ranks, and the military justice system was failing to address it, as evidenced by dropped charges, acquittals, and granted clemency – which were equated to a “broken system” that must be “fixed.” 

Despite this misinformed public narrative, the reality is that the military justice system is full of dubious cases that arise due to the enabling culture of the “sexual assault industry” and the system focusing more on public relations than on justice.  Here are some posts and cases that address this issue:





For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120 and Article 125, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:


We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: SSgt Eddy Soto Court-Martial Conviction for Rape Set Aside by Air Force Appellate Court

MILITARY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER (Former JAG Attorney) NEWS:

In a recent Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) opinion, the court-martial conviction of SSgt Eddy Soto for alleged forcible rape was set aside (overturned/reversed) based on lack of factual sufficiency - with the en banc Court holding they were not convinced the prosecution proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused used force as alleged.  The opinion can be found here:

http://afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/soto-38422.u.pdf

As you may recall, SSgt Soto was one of the MTIs at Lackland AFB who was caught up in the scandal that fueled the (knee-jerk) fire to change military law and the military justice system to make the system less fair for the accused and make it harder to defend military rape cases.   

If recent history is any indication, this appellate opinion will be attacked and there will be public calls to change the military Appellate Court system.  After all, ill-informed and agenda-driven members of Congress, advocacy groups, press pundits, and government and military leaders believed the military trial system was broken when alleged military rape and sexual assault cases resulted in withdrawn charges, acquittals after court-martial trial, or granted clemency.  So, I'm sure a military Appellate Court overturning a rape conviction will be met with similar ill-informed rhetoric.   

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, Article 125, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  There are many posts on this topic.  For example, see:






Also, see:



We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.