Military

Prosecution cannot use one charged offense to show propensity to commit another charged offense

If charged with multiple sex offenses, the government cannot use one charge to prove up the other charges.

United States v. Hills, __ M.J. __, No. 15-0767/AR

MRE 413 was not clear. Military judges were instructing panel members that if they found by a “preponderance of the evidence” (not beyond a reasonable doubt) that one of the charged offenses occurred then they could use that in finding the accused guilty of another charged offense. Make sense?  This is still allowed for uncharged misconduct.

It caused Constitutional problems because it lowered the proof needed to convict and undermined the presumption of innocence.

It is an important clarification by the highest military court and provides better guidance on instructions for the judges.  It also serves to protect the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

Here is the opinion and analysis courtesy of CAAFlog.com

http://www.caaflog.com/wp-content/uploads/Hills-15-0767AR.pdf

http://www.caaflog.com/2016/06/27/opinion-analysis-the-prosecution-may-not-use-the-charged-offenses-to-show-propensity-to-commit-the-charged-offenses-in-united-states-v-hills-15-0767ar/#more-33849

Military Discharge Upgrade: Quick Tips

Folks ask me frequently, “how can I upgrade my discharge?” or “will my discharge be upgraded automatically?”  The answer is: no and it takes hard work, it will not be upgraded unless you demonstrate why you deserve it. Here are my quick tips:

  1. Prove your case: Do not simply send in a DD Form 293 and hope for the best. It is on the Veteran to demonstrate the error, injustice or inequity. Gather up statements, military records, or any evidence that supports your case. The board presumes regularity of your discharge so it is on you to prove otherwise.
  2. Seek Representation: Many service organizations provide this service for free!! You, of course, can hire a lawyer as well. You should first seek free help because your issue may be straight forward. Maybe if your issue is more complicated you might need to pay an attorney. Always try a service organization first.
  3. Check the rules: Each service provides the rules and guidance online. It helps to show the board that you took the time to read the rules and provided only relevant information.
  4. Only ask the board for what it can approve. A discharge review board has limitations. For example, a discharge review board cannot return you to Active Duty. It has substantial powers so be sure to check the board’s website before applying.
  5. For more information: Click on the following links below.

Army: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/adrb-overview.cfm

Navy and Marine Corps: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/Home.aspx

Air Force: http://www.afpc.af.mil/afveteraninformation/airforcedischargereviewboard/

Coast Guard: http://www.uscg.mil/legal/DRB.asp

Each service website provides extensive information.  Good luck and thank you for your service!

 

 

Article on Proposed Legislation to Help Veterans

Important article on proposed legislation that could help Veterans in need.  From my experience, the Army used misconduct separations for too many Soldiers in need of mental health services. Commanders needed to “push out” Soldiers who were considered problems for the unit. Often Soldiers were too worn down to even attempt to fight the misconduct discharge. Hopefully Congress will step up and help those Veterans who deserve increased benefits and recognition for their service.

These Vets Stormed The Capitol To Fight For Service Members The Pentagon Left Behind

 

 

Military Justice Blogs

Questions about military law?  Before you hit the google machine please check out CAAFlog.

It is a great free resource that tracks all major developments in Military Justice.  It also provides links to various other resources and websites.

Other quality blogs…

courtmartialblog.com Bill Cassara

http://www.court-martial-ucmj.com/ Phil Cave

http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info/ David Coombs

These are the blogs that I use.  What else do you recommend for the military justice practitioner?

Military Death Penalty

Are there any groups calling for abolition of the death penalty in the military?

Is there a public concern that a servicemember accused of murder in one of the nineteen states without the death penalty can face execution by the military simply because of military status? For example,  SGT X, U.S. Army, allegedly murders V in the state of Maryland while serving on Active Duty.  MD abolished the death penalty in 2013.  Yet the Army can decide to take the case and refer the charges as capital regardless of actions taken by Maryland.

Is there a concern that four of the six (2/3 according to my lawyer math) inmates sitting on the military’s death row are minorities? Yet less than 1/3 of Active Duty servicemembers identify themselves as a minority (i.e., Black or African American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, multi-racial, or other/unknown) according to the Department of Defense 2012 Demographics Survey.

The Grand Opening!

The transition out of the Army is complete.  My firm, Millios Law, is open! Millios Law

I am proud to represent servicemembers from all branches, veterans, and residents of the great state of Minnesota.

Please let me know what you think about the website.

It is exciting to run my practice that focuses on providing quality representation to a limited number of clients.  Serving as a defense lawyer on active duty felt like triage at times.  There were too many servicemembers who needed help and not enough lawyers.

My time is also spent helping veterans at the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.  Please check out their website if you would like to get help at a clinic or volunteer.  MAC-V