Articles Tagged with Immunity

The NMCCA has issued an unpublished opinion in United States v. Belcher.  This case has lessons for the defense and the prosecution.

It appears the defense offered a PTA for nine months and included offers to testify against co-conspirators.  The PTAO languished.  Then, “a second trial counsel contacted the appellant’s defense counsel because he was prosecuting one of the appellant’s co-conspirators, and he wanted the appellant to be a Government witness in that case.”  The TC then provided the DC with a grant of immunity and order to testify.  The Appellant testified for the prosecution, “but the CA never [still had not] accepted the 9-month offer [at the time].”  Later a PTA for 12 months was negotiated.

It appears from the opinion that the fundamental problem stems from poor communications and a lack of documentation.

United States v. Sagona, sentenced at court-martial on 8 May 2008, appeal decided 30 September 2010.

The issue was IAC of trial defense counsel who allegedly failed to investigate and advise on a potential defense of immunity.  R.C.M. 704 covers the issues of immunity, tempered by case law.  Basically only the GCMCA can grant immunity, but . . . .  Cooke v. Orser, 12 M.J. 335 (C.M.A, 1982), is one of the more well known cases about immunity outside the R.C.M. and UCMJ requirements.

The court in Sagona had ordered a Dubay hearing.  See United States v. DuBay, 37 C.M.R. 411 (C.M.A. 1986) and United States v. Ginn, 47 M.J. 236 (C.M.A. 1986).

Here’s an interesting grant and remand from CAAF.

No. 10-0265/AF. U.S. v. Douglas E. LONG. CCA 37044 (2009 CCA LEXIS 477).

WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS BECAUSE ASSURANCES OF AIR FORCE OFFICIALS PROVIDED HIM WITH DE FACTO IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION.

Kate Wiltrout in the Virginia Pilot reports that the military judge has directed five defense witnesses be given immunity or the proceedings will be abated.

The case against a Navy SEAL accused of not protecting an alleged Iraqi terrorist took a major turn Friday when a military judge ordered that five key defense witnesses be granted immunity to testify on his behalf. If not, he warned, the case will be halted.

Here is an interesting comment on CAAFLogs post on this case.

Pilot Online reports:

Five sailors could offer testimony contradicting the government’s main witness in the controversial prosecution of three Navy SEALs accused of mistreating a suspected Iraqi terrorist.

But whether they’ll take the stand is in question after the government denied their requests for immunity on Friday.

In United States v. Willis, No. ARMY 20071339, which is being argued on Thursday, the issue is:  “WHETHER THE PROSECUTION AGAINST APPELLANT WAS BARRED BY A GRANT OF DE FACTO IMMUNITY WHEN THE GOVERNMENT AGREED TO DISMISS CHARGES IF APPELLANT PASSED A POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION AND APPELLANT PASSED A POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION.”

h/tip CAAFLog.