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Thursday, September 18, 2014

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


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:

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leaders believed the military trial system was broken when alleged military rape and sexual assault cases resulted in withdrawn charges, acquittals after court-martial trial, or granted clemency.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.

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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