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Friday, April 12, 2013

Civilian Court-Martial Lawyers: Senior Military Officer Represented by Attorney Richard V. Stevens Acquitted of Rape and Sexual Assault Allegations (UCMJ Article 120 and UCMJ Article 128)

Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:
Recently, a senior (retirement eligible) military officer who was tried by general court-martial for charges alleging rape and sexual assault was fully acquitted of the allegations that he engaged in any non-consensual touching.  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.).

Specifically, the client was originally accused of rape (UCMJ Article 120) by two different women (who were friends) and unlawfully touching each woman (assault of a sexual nature, Article 128).  Prior to trial, one accuser/complainant recanted her allegations and admitted the sexual interaction was consensual.  Therefore, charges associated with that individual were withdrawn by the government.  The other accuser/complainant stuck with her claim of rape and assault.  The case was hotly contested in front of a military court panel (“jury”). 

The accused military client pled not guilty to all charges and specifications.  During the fully litigated court-martial trial, the defense exposed issues regarding inconsistent stories about the alleged events, the credibility and motives of the remaining accuser, and the believability of the allegations.  Based on the testimony and evidence in the case, the court members found the client not guilty of all charges and specifications claiming rape or non-consensual touching.  The members convicted the client of Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman (UCMJ Article 133) for the consensual sex he had with the women and sentenced him to no punishment.  Given all the sentencing options available to the court members, down to even a reprimand, the fact that the members sentenced the accused client to no punishment at all was a strong statement regarding the case and the allegations brought against the client. 

The maximum authorized punishment for a court-martial conviction on the non-consensual allegations in this case would have included life in prison, dismissal (dishonorable discharge), 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, including military cases alleging rape and sexual assault (UCMJ Article 120), please see our other blog posts.  You can easily find these posts by typing “rape” or “sexual assault” in the blog’s search bar.  Some of the more recent cases and posts include:

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 Colorado Springs, Colorado and Southern New Jersey, but the military defense representation is worldwide – when necessary, the attorneys travel to wherever the client is stationed.

1 comment:

Bob S said...

A wonderfully written article about a very serious problem that is worsening by the day in the United States military. It is unfortunate that most Americans are completely unaware that this travesty even exists....until someone they know or care about gets tangled up in this mess....and then it is too late. But it will happen. There are many innocent men are sitting in prison today, their futures destroyed, while the media and political types continue to fuel the fire in the name of ratings and votes.