Sexual Assault Court Martial Dropped for Junior Member
Recently, a junior enlisted military member defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens had the sexual assault court-martial case he faced dropped by the military after a pretrial motion hearing (UCMJ Article 120).
The military client was accused of, and investigated for, allegedly sexually and physically assaulting a civilian female. Court-martial charges were preferred against the client and the case proceeded past the Article 32 hearing and was referred to trial by general court-martial.
As the case proceeded toward the “felony” type military trial, the defense filed discovery requests and notices specifically identifying issues that raised questions about the complainant’s credibility and motives. This included her going to the client’s home after just having met him, while she had a boyfriend. The complainant told a close friend that the activities between them were consensual and she was excited about them. After that, however, when her boyfriend found out, the complainant’s story changed and she alleged physical and sexual assault. However, her story was not corroborated by the forensic evidence.
Ultimately, as trial approached and the defense requested the complainant’s friends and boyfriend as trial witnesses, because they knew the truth of how her story had changed, the complainant elected to withdraw from the case and would not participate. The government then dropped the court-martial case against the client and he was cleared to continue his military career.
Had there been a court-martial trial and sex crime conviction in this case, the client could have been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, a lengthy term of confinement in prison (possibly decades) and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender. Thankfully, the court-martial case was dropped and he was spared this risk of devastation to his future.
While this military court-martial and sexual assault case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case. No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.
For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, see our page at: https://militaryadvocate.com/military-offenses/sex-crimes/.
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