CAAF today issued this fact-specific opinion rejecting an IAC claim based on a trial defense counsel’s failure to seek psychiatric records of a complaining witness.  United States v. Green, __ M.J. ___, No. 09-0523/AF (C.A.A.F. Feb. 24, 2010).  Judge Stucky wrote for a unanimous court.  CAAF concluded that failure to seek the records, if they existed, wasn’t prejudicial.

CAAF also indicated that the Air Force Court erred during its analysis of the IAC claim by considering court members’ statements “that they had only convicted Appellant of offenses for which there was corroborating evidence.”  But because CAAF reviews IAC claims de novo, it found that the error didn’t matter.

One Response to “CAAF issues IAC opinion”

  1. FTB14 says:

    I don’t understand how, without reviewing any records, CAAF can state so definitively that the failure to seek these records was not prejudicial. Say CAAF had reviewed these records and they contained information that the victim had a penchant for fabricating allegations of sexual assault, how could the court have found no prejudice? Similarly, what if the records showed that the victim had paranoid delusions, problems perceiving reality, or any number of psychiatric disorders? How many kids of this age are locked up in psychiatric facilities, a tiny number…these extreme measures potentially point to some serious problems.

    Another interesting thing about the decision is that it in support of its holding that there was no prejudice, the court points to the fact that the defense counsel obtained acquittals on a number of the specifications. Why isn’t the presumption that there was insufficient evidence to convict on these specifications, rather than the presumption, implied here, that there was evidence to convict but the defense counsel was so competent that he won acquittals?