Articles Posted in Uncategorized

Whether or not a sentence is appropriate for the crime convicted of and the character of the person convicted is a frequent issue on appeal.  Less frequently there is an issue of sentence disparity between co-actors or co-accuseds.

The recent ACCA decision in United States v. Martinez (Sept. 2017), lays out the law fairly well on how to analyze and argue the issue.

In this case we hold appellant’s sentence was appropriate despite his assertion of sentence disparity with his coactor. While there is a not a bright-line test for when a sentence is highly disparate, the law is clear that sentence disparity is only one of many aspects of sentence appropriateness. We therefore hold that even if appellant’s sentence was highly disparate with his coactor’s sentence, appellant’s sentence was still appropriate for his crimes.

The military already has rules and regulations about membership in certain hate groups.  The tragic events at Charlottesville are likely to garner more attention to the issue of military personnel and hate groups.

From Task & Purpose.

James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old Army basic training wash-out accused of running down counter-protesters demonstrating against hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, may not have been the only U.S. military veteran marching under the banner of white nationalism this weekend, Splinter reports.

There is increasing attention to the possibility that DNA “evidence” at the scene of an alleged crime is just too good and may implicate the innocent.

Touch-trace DNA is the issue.

Here is an interesting discussion that may help form an argument to exclude DNA evidence or address it with the fact-finder at trial.

A major piece in the New York Times magazine by Emily Bazelon dissects the conviction of Noura Jackson for the murder of her mother.

The accused’s DNA was excluded as a match for any of the three DNA profiles found at the scene and there was no physical evidence linking the accused to the killing.

The accused was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide

Attorney General Mark R. Herring has created the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide, a new tool to help Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans understand the unique legal protections, rights, and resources available to them under the law. Volunteer attorneys from the Office of Attorney General spent more than a year developing the new guide, which will be distributed in hard copy and electronically in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, veterans’ service organizations, and more.


Military veterans keep secrets from the battlefield. But retired Marine Richard Cachola’s refusal to reveal details of a traumatic experience he had while serving in Iraq — and the mental health treatment he received as a result — put him at risk of losing custody of his children.

“My PTSD has no relationship to my ability to be a father,” Cachola said, after declining to provide court-ordered mental health records of his PTSD history in family court.

Cachola’s case reflects why child-custody disputes can be complicated, especially if one spouse has been diagnosed with a mental illness resulting from war. Family court judges must balance a parent’s right to privacy with the best interest of the children involved.

By order of the Chief Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will be closed all day on Monday, July 3, 2017.  For purposes of computation of time and motions to enlarge time under the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, July 3, 2017, will be considered a day when the Court is officially closed.  While not a preferred status, you have an extra day if butting up against the due date.