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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Field Grade Officer Cleared of Sexual Assault Allegation (UCMJ Article 120)

Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a field grade military officer who was facing a sexual assault allegation was cleared after litigating an administrative disciplinary action (UCMJ Article 120).  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.). 

This case was processed in a surprising manner given the environment in the military justice system, and the outcome – while entirely justified – was also surprising given the environment. 

The military officer was accused of sexually assaulting a female he met through an online post.  Initially, the investigation was headed toward a court-martial, as most, unfortunately, do these days.  However, as doubts started to surface, the case was handled via administrative disciplinary action instead.  Due to the environment in the military justice system, we had fears that the government’s strategy was to administratively discipline and discharge the officer, instead of court-martialing him, because the allegation wouldn’t hold up in a court and they could get rid of him expeditiously, and without the evidentiary standard of a military trial.

In response to the disciplinary action, the client pled not guilty in the administrative forum and we submitted a lengthy, detailed rebuttal.  That rebuttal included what didn’t make sense about the complainant’s claims (to include evidence of her seeking to see the client romantically after the alleged sexual assault), as well as her admitted history of making a false police claim against another individual because she was upset at the person.  

Ultimately, the General who heard the case found the client not guilty of the alleged sexual assault.  Because of the not guilty finding, the client also avoided a discharge board hearing (a.k.a. show cause, board of inquiry, officer elimination) based on sexual assault.  The client will now continue on with his military career.   

For all the times I have blogged about how the military justice system is being held hostage by misguided politicians and advocacy groups who demand predetermined outcomes that support complainants and punish military accuseds – this case was a refreshing reminder that not all military commanders are willing to be pawns in the political game, and some are willing to make judgments based on their personal and professional conscience, regardless of the “noise” that could result by those who blindly disapprove of a result that doesn’t back up a sexual assault complainant.  

Due to the nature of adverse administrative actions in the military, no further details about this case can be released.  While this military disciplinary 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 or 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.

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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