Yesterday CAAF granted review of an issue involving two lay opinions. Notably, the issue was specified by the court:

No. 16-0487/AR. U.S. v. Mario I. Lopez. CCA 20140943.  On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue specified by the Court:

WHETHER THE MILITARY JUDGE ERRED BY ADMITTING THE TESTIMONY OF APPELLANT’S WIFE, MRS. CL, WHO TESTIFIED THAT APPELLANT’S APOLOGY TO HIS STEPSON MEANT THAT APPELLANT WAS “LOOSELY ADMITTING GUILT” TO CRIMINAL CONDUCT, AND BY ALSO ADMITTING THE TESTIMONY OF MS. NM, WHO TESTIFIED THAT APPELLANT “HAD PROBABLY RAPED” HIS WIFE BECAUSE MRS. CL HAD RECENTLY RESEARCHED “SPOUSAL RAPE” ON THE INTERNET.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

I can’t find an opinion on the Army CCA’s website and so assume that the CCA summarily affirmed.

3 Responses to “CAAF grants review of lay opinion issue”

  1. Passing By says:

    Wait!  Does that mean when I tell my spouse I am sorry that I made them mad I am “loosely admitting guilt?”  I may have to rethink my whole domestic strategy.

  2. A. Hernandez says:

     
    Can’t the fact finder just hear the statement and make its own decision as to its meaning? If the statement is found admissible and survives the 403 analysis (then again, when don’t they?), then both sides argue as to its meaning.  This reminds me of one of my first contested cases as a defense counsel, US v. Byrd; I still disagree with CAAF’s position that the military judge’s error in admitting lay opinion was “harmless” (http://www.armfor.uscourts.gov/newcaaf/opinions/2004Term/03-0561.pdf)
     

  3. k fischer says:

    PB,
     
    This might not be so bad.  If the defense is that CL had a borderline PD, was served divorce papers, then made a vindictive allegation with a long winded airing of grievances stemming back prior to them getting married, then perhaps it is relevant to show that she had been raped……although that is pretty weak.  I agree with Amilcar.  I would argue that wife was researching spousal rape at about the time the two were talking divorce, so she could make a false allegation.  Probably learned it from her FAP counselor.
     
    On a side note, Dustin Diamond got pinched for stabbing some guy in Wisconsin, and now Mario Lopez gets convicted for raping his wife.  I bet Mark-Paul Gosselaar was responsible for both crimes, but totally got away with it.