In United States v. Reese, 76 M.J. 297 (C.A.A.F. Jun. 14, 2017) (CAAFlog case page), a unanimous CAAF found no requirement to show prejudice in the case of an objected-to major change (functionally rendering this a structural error), and reversed a conviction of sexual abuse of a child after concluding that the change altered the means of committing the offense and was not fairly included in the original specification. The court also held that a novel Article 134 specification must allege an act or omission that is not already an enumerated Article 134 offense, reversing a conviction of a specification that amounted to obstruction of justice (but omitted an element of that offense).

Reese remained convicted of making false official statements and of wrongful use, possession, or distribution of marijuana, and CAAF remanded the case to the Coast Guard court to reconsider the adjudged sentence. Reese had pleaded guilty to all of those offenses except for one specification of making a false official statement (he contested the charges CAAF reversed), and he was sentenced by a general court-martial composed of a military judge alone to confinement for five years, reduction to E-1, and a dishonorable discharge.

Last week the Coast Guard CCA reassessed the sentence, reducing it dramatically:

We have reviewed the record in accordance with Article 66, UCMJ. Upon such review, the findings of guilty of Charges I and II and their specifications are reaffirmed. A sentence providing for confinement for three months, reduction to E-1, and a bad-conduct discharge is affirmed.

United States v. Reese, No. 1422, slip op. at 3 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. Jul. 20, 2017) (link to slip op.).

Sometimes such reductions do not result in meaningful relief to the appellant because they come after the confinement has already been served. For Reese, however, the reduction is very meaningful, as he was sentenced in November 2014.

7 Responses to “A huge (and meaningful) sentence reduction for Reese”

  1. Scott says:

    From the NYT this morning:

  2. Vulture says:

    He capitalized “Transgender” in his tweet the same way that he did “Generals” thus making them a proper noun.  Demand class protection.

  3. DCGoneGalt says:

    If you’re overdue for transgender policy training, will your training manager still demand you take it?  Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Joseph Wilkinson says:

    CJCS says, “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance. In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect….”   
    So, everything is as it was, until it isn’t.

  5. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    Academic question: if a sufficiently large enough segment of the military declared itself to be transgender, would a) the President demand that everyone be fired, or b) would he reverse course?”Transgender” is a very broad spectrum that is not dependent on chemical or surgical alteration.  In theory, there is no distinction between a genetic male who identifies as female, but still dresses as a man and is attracted to women…and a cisgender hetero male.
    So yeah: if everyone in DoD started identifying as the opposite gender, what happens?

  6. jagaf says:

    The CinC, in a tweet no less, essentially called current, honorably serving troops a burden. That he did it in such a cavalier way, with little to no apparent warning to any of the leaders who will have to implement this directive (?) and with no guidance for the commanders and supervisors who will have to counsel troops impacted by what appears to be coming, is all the worse. This President is a disgrace to those who serve and care for their comrades in arms.

  7. Zachary D Spilman says:

    Comments on this post are now closed.