In United States v. Hills, 75 M.J. 350 (C.A.A.F. Jun. 27, 2016) (CAAFlog case page), a unanimous CAAF held that charged offenses may not be used under Mil. R. Evid. 413 to prove an accused’s propensity to commit other charged offenses, and also that the standard instruction given to members regarding how to handle such propensity undermines the presumption of innocence.

In United States v. Hukill, No. 20140939 (A. Ct. Crim. App. Aug. 16, 2016) (discussed here), the Army CCA concluded that CAAF’s decision in Hills does not apply in judge-alone trials.

Last week CAAF granted review of the Army CCA’s decision in Hukill:

No. 17-0003/AR. U.S. v. Christopher B. Hukill. CCA 20140939. 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 issues:

I. WHETHER, IN A COURT-MARTIAL TRIED BY MILITARY JUDGE ALONE, THE MILITARY JUDGE ABUSED HIS DISCRETION BY GRANTING THE GOVERNMENT’S MOTION TO USE THE CHARGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT FOR MILITARY RULE OF EVIDENCE 413 PURPOSES TO PROVE PROPENSITY TO COMMIT THE CHARGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.

II. WHETHER JUDGE PAULETTE V. BURTON AND JUDGE LARSS G. CELTNIEKS, JUDGES ON THE COURT OF MILITARY COMMISSION REVIEW WERE STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED TO SIT ON THE ARMY COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, AND EVEN IF THEY WERE STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE ARMY COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, WHETHER THEIR SERVICE ON BOTH COURTS VIOLATED THE APPOINTMENTS CLAUSE GIVEN THEIR NEWLY ATTAINED STATUS AS A SUPERIOR OFFICER.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25 on Issue I only.

3 Responses to “CAAF to review whether Hills applies in judge-alone trials”

  1. k fischer says:

    Prediction: It does, but the error is HBARD.

  2. Bill Cassara says:

    Stevie Wonder saw that one coming.

  3. k fischer says:

    Hmmmm…..guess I’m no Nostradamus, after all.