Military Officer Has Sexual Assault Case Dropped (UCMJ Article 120)

Recently, a military officer defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens had the sexual assault case he faced dropped by the military just before court-martial charges were to be preferred against him (UCMJ Article 120)..

The military client was accused of, and investigated for, allegedly having sex with a military acquaintance who the client met at an event. The defense denied the entirety of that claim. The complaining witness was intoxicated and acting in a bizarre manner during the evening, as verified by the other witnesses who were present. The day after the alleged event, the complainant did not act as if anything was wrong, but then her father picked her up and was unhappy about how the situation appeared. Later, the complainant claimed she had been sexually assaulted by the client. However, her claim made no sense in a variety of crucial ways and the defense was prepared to dispute her entire story.

When the DNA evidence came back, it not only failed to corroborate the complaining witness’s claims against the client, but it introduced a new scenario and individual into the case. The complaining witness demanded immunity, but still wanted to press forward with her claims against the client. The client’s commander would not prefer charges, so the military found a commander above him to prefer the court-martial charges. The defense was notified of preferral of court-martial charges and began preparing for an Article 32 hearing, including identifying witnesses who would refute the complainant’s story. The complainant, presumably knowing that her credibility was damaged because of the observations of the other witnesses and her own behavior that night, changed her mind and elected not to participate in the case. The military then dropped the case before court-martial charges were preferred.

Had there been a court-martial trial and sex crime conviction in this case, the client could have been sentenced to a punitive discharge, a lengthy term of confinement in prison and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender. Thankfully, the 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:

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Attorney Richard Stevens

Mr. Stevens has been handling military cases since 1995. He has defended military cases dealing with the most serious military offenses, including allegations of “war crimes,” national security cases, murder, manslaughter, homicide, rape, sexual assault, other sex related offenses, drug offenses, computer crimes (pornography), larceny, fraud, AWOL/desertion, conduct unbecoming, military academy offenses, offenses within combat zones, senior officer cases and other military specific offenses around the world. [ Attorney Bio ]