This site is for the trial practitioner (the military lawyer) of military justice, and for the information of U.S. active duty, Guard, and reserve service-members, their spouses and their families. Our goal is to focus on trial practice issues in cases arising under the UCMJ and being tried at court martial. We hasten to add that nothing on this blog should be taken as specific legal advice for a specific client.

In United States v. Lopez, Army Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed, but there is no opinion on the Army court website and I don’t see it in Lexis.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has specified an issue for review in this case as follows:

No. 16-0487/AR. U.S. v. Mario I. Lopez. CCA 20140943 [2016 CAAF LEXIS 773].  On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue specified by the Court:

32 CFR Part 105 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures; Final Rule, of 27 September 2016, 81 FR 66424.

This rule contains amendments to an interim final rule published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2013, which provided guidance and procedures for the SAPR Program. This included establishing the processes and procedures for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Kit; establishing the multidisciplinary Case Management Group (CMG), providing guidance on how to handle sexual assault; and establishing minimum program standards, training requirements, and requirements for the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. This rule adds amendments from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, which contains a provision that preempts state laws that require disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) of the adult sexual assault victim or alleged perpetrator to local or state law enforcement. This interim final rule implements this provision with respect to care sought at DoD Installations.

81 FR 66185, of 27 September 2016.

No. 16-0704/AR. U.S. v. Dwight Harris, Jr. CCA 20131045. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:



The decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals is set aside. The record of trial is returned to the Judge Advocate General of the Army for remand to that court for consideration of the granted issue.

This article showed that the vast majority of court-martial sentences are affirmed by AFCCA. On the rare occasion when sentence relief was granted, it was usually not based on factual sufficiency or sentence appropriateness. While there has been some fluctuation in how often AFCCA grants sentence relief, it is minimal and to some extent explained by the influence CAAF has on it.

That’s the conclusion of Maj. Kevin Gotfredson and Capt. Micah Smith in their article, Sentence Relief: At the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals During the Last 10 Years.  43(3) THE REPORTER 21 (2016).  Their research was motivated by public discussion of an “epidemic” number of valid convictions being reversed because of “factual sufficiency.”

See more discussion at my website here.


so starts a post at wrongfulconvictionsblog–Junk Science Reigns ____ So Much for True Science in the Courtroom.

[W]hen the National Academy of Sciences report Forensic Science in the United States; A Path Forward was published

people thought we might see a true effort to address “junk science being used to convict innocent people.”

Please don’t do this.

[T]he defense counsels did not respect the judge’s ruling.
[I]n an astounding show of contempt, [they] tried to force the judge to reverse himself by their unilateral withdrawal from the proceedings, on the apparent pretext that they were not prepared.

The recent Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals case illustrates why defense counsel, and staff judge advocates, should exercise care with victim impact statements submitted post trial.

In United States v. Goss, the court reminds us that:

Article 60, UCMJ, was amended to include a new subsection “(d)” that authorized the submission of victim impact statements. See National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-66, § 1706, 127 Stat. 672, 960-61 (2013). However, the amended Article 60, UCMJ, does not address what may be included in a victim impact statement:

Check the warrant, or in the military the search authorization.

The recent decision of the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in a government appeal tells you why it’s important to check the warrant.

In United States v. Gurzynski, the court had before it a government appeal of a military judge’s decision to suppress evidence of a computer media search.

My title is from the title of a piece in Mother Jones.

Federal agencies don’t have a uniform definition of sexual assault, and that has led to dramatically different estimates on the frequency of sexual violence in the United States, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Currently, four federal agencies—the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense—manage at least 10 efforts to collect data. The problems begin in how sexual violence is described and categorized. Agencies rarely used the same terminology to describe acts of sexual violence, the report found, and even when they did, there were differences in how they measured each act[.]