In the certified Air Force case of United States v. Morita, No. 14-5007/AF (CAAFlog case page), CAAF is considering the Air Force CCA’s fascinating opinion that held that subject matter jurisdiction did not exist for the appellee’s submission of fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized travel claims for reserve duty when those claims were submitted while the appellee was in an inactive status. CAAF heard oral argument in the case on October 20, 2014.

The Air Force CCA recently decided another case presenting the same issue:

One issue was identified on appeal: whether the court-martial had jurisdiction over the appellant for a fraudulent travel voucher submitted on 3 June 2010 when his orders expired on 22 May 2010.

We find that the Government failed to prove jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence for one specification of fraud and for a part of the charged time frame with one of the larceny specifications. We modify the findings accordingly and reassess the sentence.

United States v. Jewell, No. 38474 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. Dec. 9, 2014) (link to slip op.). The facts of Jewell are different from the facts of Morita, in that the appellant in Jewell created and submitted fake rental receipts in order to receive undeserved reimbursements (“He submitted 10 vouchers between 1 August 2009 and 30 April 2010 when he was on active duty orders. He submitted the eleventh voucher on 3 June 2010.” Slip op. at 2.). Other differences include that Morita was a contested case while the appellant in Jewell pleaded guilty pursuant to a pretrial agreement, and that Morita also involves the issue of whether the Government should be allowed to present additional evidence on appeal to prove jurisdiction after the issue was litigated at the trial stage.

However, the CCA’s ultimate conclusion is the same as that reached in Morita, and I anticipate the Air Force will certify Jewell just as it certified Morita.

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