Interesting AF PTA case

In United States v. Starovoytov, the accused plead guilty.

[T]of 5 charges and 18 specifications involving sodomy with children between the ages of 12 and 16, aggravated sexual abuse of children, abusive sexual contact of a child, indecent liberties with children, possessing and producing child pornography, and providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21, in violation of Articles 120, 125, and 134, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. §§ 920, 925, 934.

He was sentenced to

[A] dishonorable discharge, confinement for 50 years, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and reduction to E-1.

The Appellant raised several issues but the most pertinent is that he got no benefit from the agreement, thus his sentenced should be reduced, the agreement offends public policy, and his counsel provided IAC in getting him to agree to it.

So what did he get for his agreement.

[T]he convening authority agreed to withdraw two specifications which alleged Appellant took indecent liberties with a child and committed sodomy with a child under 12 years of age.  The convening authority also allowed Appellant to preserve for appeal any motions filed prior to signing of the pretrial agreement.

n.4.  1. Defense Motion for Appropriate Relief: Release from Pretrial Confinement and Credit for Time Served in Pretrial Confinement dated 17 September 2013. 2. Defense Motion to Dismiss for Denial of Right to Speedy Trial dated 16 September 2013. 3. Defense Motion to Compel Access to Computer Data dated 23 October 2013. 4. Defense Motion to Compel Production of Mental Health Records dated 11 September 2013. 5. Defense Motion to Compel Expert Consultant in the Field of Mitigation dated 20 September 2013. 6. Defense Motion to Dismiss for Unlawful Command Influence dated 27 September 2013

What didn’t he get–a limitation on the confinement.  It is not unusual to bargain on the charges alone, and it is questionable whether he did actually get a benefit.  But that’s not the law or frankly the reality of pretrial negotiations.

United States v. Riley, 72 M.J. 115, 120 (C.A.A.F. 2013) (holding that the terms of pretrial agreements must comply with statutory and decisional law and adhere to basic notions of fundamental fairness); United States v. Holland, 1 M.J. 58, 60 (C.M.A. 1975) (holding a pretrial agreement that denies the accused a fair hearing or otherwise “substitutes the agreement for the trial, [thereby] render[ing it] an empty ritual” violates public policy). [Note, Riley is a post-Miller case.]

R.C.M. 705(c)(1) (containing a non-exhaustive list of terms and conditions prohibited in a pretrial agreement).

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