CAAF decided the Army case of United States v. Hendrix, 76 M.J. 283 No. 16-0731/AR (CAAFlog case page) (link to slip op.), on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Concluding that a voice lineup was so flawed as to render the result meaningless, CAAF finds that admission of evidence of the lineup caused prejudice because it was important for the prosecution. The court reverses the appellant’s conviction of sexual abuse of a child, authorizing a rehearing.
Judge Ohlson writes for a unanimous court.
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Audio of today’s oral arguments at CAAF is available at the following links:
United States v. Reese, No. 17-0028/CG (CAAFlog case page): Oral argument audio.
United States v. Hendrix, No. 16-0731/AR (CAAFlog case page): Oral argument audio.
CAAF will hear oral argument in the Army case of United States v. Hendrix, No. 16-0731/AR (CAAFlog case page), on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, after the argument in Reese. The court will hear oral argument on two issues challenging admission of a voice lineup (three other issues raised Ortiz issues):
I. Whether the military judge abused his discretion when he denied a defense motion to suppress related to the identification of the appellant during a voice lineup.
II. Whether the military judge abused his discretion in denying appellant’s motion to compel an expert consultant, EP, in the field of audio forensic science and voice identification.
Specialist (E-4) Hendrix was convicted contrary to his pleas of not guilty, by a general court-martial composed of members with enlisted representation, of sexual abuse of a child in violation of Article 120b. He was sentenced to confinement for 30 months, reduction to E-1, total forfeitures, and a dishonorable discharge.
The charge involved an allegation by a ten year old girl that “a tall man came into her room, pulled down her pants and underwear, and touched her . . . [she] also remembered the man saying, ‘Is your sister asleep’ and ‘Promise me you won’t tell anybody.'” App. Br. at 5 (citing record). Hendrix was a friend of the family and was charged. An Article 32 pretrial investigation, however, found no reasonable grounds to believe that Hendrix committed the offense in part because “CID never did a voice lineup to confirm whether [the child] could identify [Hendrix’s] voice.” App. Br. at 5 (quoting record). The prosecution then decided to conduct a voice lineup. But the process they used was less than ideal.
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CAAF granted review in two cases on the 12th.
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