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Sunday, June 09, 2019


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military officer who faced a general court-martial (GCM) in which he was accused of the sexual assault of a civilian acquaintance was found not guilty of all charges and specifications by the Military Judge at his 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.), and the trial was litigated over 4 days in front of a Military Judge alone.

The military officer client was accused of sexual assault by the acquaintance who he met at a bar on the night at issue.  Their interactions at the bar were revealed through witness statements and CCTV footage, which included flirtation and kissing, despite the complainant having a boyfriend who was not out with them that evening.  The complainant claimed she was not interested in the client, but her behavior toward him at the bar that evening indicated otherwise. 

Then, the complainant went to the apartment of the client with her intoxicated friend.  The complainant claimed the forcible sexual assault occurred in the apartment, although she admitted to kissing the client and giving him her phone number after the alleged sexual assault.    

The civilian authorities initially investigated the case, and elected to drop it and refused to take the case to trial.  The complainant hired an attorney and challenged that decision, and the civilian authorities still refused to take the case to trial.  The military, however, elected to take the case after the civilians dropped it. 

As with many of these cases, both sides had experts in forensic psychology, digital forensics, and sexual assault examinations (forensic nurse examiners [FNE]) – some of whom were called as witnesses during trial. 

As a result of the motion hearings, the defense was able to obtain evidence from the complainant’s phone and other evidence that was ultimately helpful to expose the truth of what happened – which was not sexual assault. 

During trial, and a cross-examination of the complainant that lasted for hours, the defense was able to expose numerous inconsistencies in the complainant’s story, motives to make false allegations (including her boyfriend), and things that did not make sense about her story.  In addition, the defense committed the complainant to trial testimony that was refuted by other witnesses, which appeared to indicate the complainant was lying under oath at trial. 

During trial, the defense also raised deficiencies in the investigation of the case, to include insufficient investigation into the background of the complainant, and failure to obtain relevant evidence to determine if the complainant’s claims were corroborated or refuted – instead of just accepting her word on certain points.    

Ultimately, after four days of trial, the Military Judge returned a verdict of not guilty of all charges and specifications (full acquittal).    

Had there been a conviction in the case, the client could have been sentenced to a dismissal (equivalent of dishonorable discharge), decades in prison, forfeitures of all pay and allowances and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender.  Thankfully, that did not happen and the client can now continue with his military career. 

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: I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) am a former active duty military lawyer (JAG). My perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon my experience as military defense lawyer and as a civilian criminal defense lawyer 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 for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in the Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland, National Capital Region (NCR), but the military defense representation is worldwide – when necessary, the attorneys travel to wherever the client is stationed around the world.

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