CAAF decides Arriaga

In United States v. Arriaga, CAAF holds that housebreaking is an LIO of burglary (an alternate argument was that even if the HB was an LIO, they MJ erred in instructing on the offense because it wasn’t raised by the evidence), and that appellant was denied a “speedy” post-trial review.

The post-trial delay arguments raised in this case compel a brief review of this court’s recent appellate delay decisions before we turn to an analysis of the delay in Arriaga’s case.

Arriaga’s court-martial was completed on August 28, 2008.  It took the court reporter eighty-two days to complete the record of trial. It then took trial counsel eighty days to authenticate the record of trial (162 days after trial). It took the military judge twenty-five days to authenticate the record of trial (187 days after trial). The convening authority took his action twenty-six days later, 243 days after trial.

The Government argues that it “exercised due diligence” in preparing the record of trial while dealing with “two deployed senior captains, a pregnant trial counsel who reviewed the transcript while on maternity leave, inexperienced remaining captains in the office, a very heavy case load, and this fully-litigated 8-volume record of trial.”  We have held that personnel and administrative issues, such as those raised by the Government in this case, are not  legitimate reasons justifying otherwise unreasonable post-trial delay.

In this case: 

Arriaga has suffered specific prejudice in the form of oppressive incarceration as a result of the posttrial

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