In an unpublished opinion authored by Judge White, NMCCA affirmed a military judge’s dismissal with prejudice of an indecent assault case on grounds that the government violated he accused’s right to a speedy trial under Article 10.
The accused, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Launching and Recovery Equipment) Second Class Daniel Ortizrodriguez (let’s just call him the appellee) was initially accused of rape and civilian authorities conducted an investigation. The civilians elected not to pursue the case, and the Navy requested that appellee be detailed a defense counsel. Eventually, appellee was restricted to the limits of the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY, which was in the process of decommissioning. Appellee remained restricted through the decommissioning process, and after KENNEDY decommissioned, appellee was restricted to a barge. The military judge ruled that the conditions of appellee’s restriction were tantamount to confinement. On appeal, the government did not contest this finding. Appellee spent a total of 101 days in restriction tantamount to confinement without being arraigned.
The delay NMCCA found troubling enough to warrant dismissal with prejudice included 27 days that elapsed between imposition of restriction and preferral, and 44 days for the investigating officer to complete the Article 32 investigation. Much of the delay associated with the Article 32 was attributable to the investigating officer keeping the investigation open in hopes of obtaining evidence the trial counsel had informed him was likely lost.
We’ll see if the government lets this case lie harmlessly in unpublished oblivion or risks a published CAAF opinion. There’s nothing especially groundbreaking here legally speaking, a straight forward, fact intensive application of the Barker v. Wingo factors.
Since the case hasn’t hit the NMCCA web page yet, I’ll zap a copy to No Man for posting on CAAFlog.com.