Opinion Analysis: Prior allegations must be false to be admissible, and the defense failed to prove that prerequisite in United States v. Erikson, No. 16-0705/AR
CAAF decided the Army case of United States v. Erikson, 76 M.J. 231 No. 16-0705/AR (CAAFlog case page) (link to slip op.), on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. CAAF finds that it was not error for the military judge to exclude evidence that the alleged victim made a prior allegation of sexual assault against a different person because the prior allegation was not proven to be false. Accordingly, the court affirms the summary decision of the Army CCA.
Judge Ohlson writes for a unanimous court.
CAAF granted review of three issues, all of which were personally asserted by the appellant:
I. Whether the military judge erred in excluding evidence that the victim previously made a false accusation of sexual contact against another soldier.
II. CMCR Judges Larss G. Celtnieks and Paulette V. Burton are not statutorily authorized to sit on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
III. Even if CMCR Judges Larss G. Celtnieks and Paulette V. Burton are statutorily authorized to be assigned to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, their service on both courts violates the appointments clause given their newly attained status as superior officers.
Issues II and III are resolved with a footnote to CAAF’s opinion in United States v. Ortiz, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Apr. 17, 2017) (CAAFlog case page).