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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officer who was facing a general court-martial in which he was accused of sexual assault of a child had his case withdrawn and dismissed (dropped) after a second Article 32 hearing.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.

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.

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