Discharged before discharged

How many times do we hear it from clients, especially appellate clients — “I got my discharge, it’s an honorable, what do I do?”

ACCA has decided that issue for Estrada, in United States v. Estrada.

Appellant argues her receipt of an administratively-issued honorable discharge prior to the convening authority’s approval of her adjudged bad-conduct discharge remits the punitive discharge and renders it a nullity. After considering the assignment of error and the applicable service regulations, we specified the following related assignment of error:

WAS ANY PURPORTED DISCHARGE BEFORE INITIAL ACTION VOIDED BY THE PRIOR PREFERRAL OF CHARGES[?] SEE ARMY REG. 27-10, LEGAL SERVICES: MILITARY JUSTICE, PARA. 5-16 (16 NOV. 2005) [HEREINAFTER AR 27-10].

We hold AR 27-10, para. 5-16, automatically voided any purported discharge because the administrative discharge occurred prior to initial action.

The court then goes on to give an advisory opinion about another issue identified in the case.

While not a factor in resolution of this case, our review of the applicable regulations reveals an anomalous conflict which could cause the unintended consequences against which Chief Judge Crawford warned in Steele.

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