October 2019 Term of Court

Note: This page may include cases set for argument in the near future.


Cases heard at oral argument this term: 20
Argued cases decided by authored decision: 7
Argued cases decided per curiam or by summary disposition: 1
Argued cases pending decision: 12
Other cases noted below: 0


Cases Heard at Oral Argument Pending Decision (chronological by date of argument):

United States v. Rice, No. 19-0178/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on October 16, 2019): A single granted issue questions the Army CCA’s published decision that found a double jeopardy violation but did not give any relief.

United States v. Bess, No. 19-0086/NA (CAAFlog case page) (argued on October 23, 2019): Three issues challenge the racial composition of the court-martial panel and a ruling by the military judge that denied a defense request for discovery about the racial composition of the unit.

United States v. Jessie, No. 19-0192/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on November 5, 2019): Three granted issues challenge the Army CCA’s refusal to consider confinement conditions (including a policy prohibiting all contact with children, direct or indirect) as part of its sentence appropriateness review.

United States v. Wall, No. 19-0143/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on January 14, 2020): In this case and in Gonzalez, CAAF is reviewing whether a CCA may reassess a sentence while also authorizing a rehearing.

United States v. Gonzalez, No. 19-0297/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on January 14, 2020): In this case and in Wall, CAAF is reviewing whether a CCA may reassess a sentence while also authorizing a rehearing.

United States v. Washington, No. 19-0252/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on January 15, 2020): CAAF is reviewing whether it was error for the military judge to admit the testimony of an Army Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program representative that “when a person says ‘no’ it means stop, walk away.”

United States v. Clark, No. 19-0411/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on February 11, 2020): Three issues question whether R.C.M. 914 (the military version of the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500) applies to pretrial statements made by military law enforcement agents.

United States v. Carter, No. 19-0382/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on February 11, 2020): CAAF is reviewing potential ineffective assistance of counsel, a denied request for a mistrial, and admission of cell-site evidence, involving some unusual facts.

United States v. Prasad, No. 19-0412/AF (CAAFlog case page) (argued on March 16, 2020): CAAF is reviewing a Hills error for prejudice.

United States v. Rich, No. 19-0425/AF (CAAFlog case page) (argued on March 16, 2020): Two granted issues challenge admission of a laboratory test result as either a violation of the Confrontation Clause or the rules for expert opinion.

United States v. Baas, No. 19-0377/MC (CAAFlog case page) (argued on March 17, 2020): Two granted issues question whether the defense of mistake of fact as to consent applies to a charge of sexual assault by inducing a belief by any artifice, pretense, or concealment that the accused is another person, in violation of Article 120(b)(1)(D) (2012) (relocated to Article 120(b)(1)(C) (2019))).

United States v. Moore, No. 20-0119/AR (CAAFlog case page) (argued on March 17, 2020): An interlocutory appeal by the prosecution challenges a military judge’s ruling that dismissed all of one specification and part of a second specification for violation of the statute of limitations based on a post-referral major change.


Authored Decisions (chronological by date of decision):

United States v. Guardado, 79 M.J. 301 (C.A.A.F. Jan. 15, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): Holding that its own precedent regarding an accused’s right to restoration in rank and pay pending a rehearing is not binding on the military pay agency, a majority of the court finds no intent to punish the appellant when that pay agency refused to restore his pay.

United States v. Easterly, 79 M.J. 325 (C.A.A.F. Feb. 4, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): Holding that a military judge has a duty to instruct members on the impact of a punitive discharge on retirement benefits only when the defense actually requests such an instruction, CAAF reverses the decision of the Air Force CCA holding that it was plain error for the military judge to not give such an instruction in this case where it was not requested.

United States v. Davis, 79 M.J. 329 (C.A.A.F. Feb. 12, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): After granting reconsideration in order to consider whether the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Rehaif, 139 S. Ct. 2191, 2196 (2019), affects the meaning of the word knowingly in the offense of indecent recording in violation of Article 120c(a)(2), CAAF does not actually answer that question. Rather, eschewing its own precedent and R.C.M. 920(f), the court finds that the issue was waived when the defense did not object to the military judge’s instructions at trial.

United States v. Avery, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Feb. 27, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): A unanimous CAAF finds that the enumerated Article 134 offense of indecent language (with any person, but with a greater maximum punishment when a child is involved) is not preempted by Article 120b(c) (2012), which criminalizes lewd acts with a child (a legal term of art that includes indecent communications), because there is no indication that Congress intended that result and because the Article 134 offense covers conduct that Article 120b(c) does not.

United States v. Hennis, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Feb. 28, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): Hennis is a capital case and CAAF’s review was mandatory. Reviewing 40 issues raised by Hennis’ defense counsel and three issues raised by Hennis personally – but discussing only five issues on which the court granted oral argument – CAAF affirms the findings, the sentence to death, and the decision of the Army CCA. As a result, Hennis remains one of only four people on military death row.

United States v. Finch, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Mar. 3, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): Curbing the use of prior consistent statements under the new Mil. R. Evid. 801(d)(1)(B)(ii), CAAF holds that such a statement “must actually be relevant to rehabilitate the witness’s credibility on the basis on which he or she was attacked.”

United States v. Turner, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Mar. 25, 2020) (CAAFlog case page): Considering a specification of attempted murder that failed to expressly allege that the attempt was unlawful (a necessary term because military service involves lawful killing), a majority of the court reads the specification with maximum liberality because the defense waited until after findings to object, and affirms the conviction and the decision of the Army CCA.


Summary & Per Curiam Decisions in Argued Cases (chronological by date of decision):

United States v. Muller, __ M.J. __ (C.A.A.F. Feb. 12, 2020) (per curiam) (CAAFlog case page): With a per curiam opinion, a majority of the court reverses the decision of the Air Force CCA and remands the case for a new Article 66(c) review because CAAF can’t determine if the Air Force court applied an invalid rule of practice and procedure to deny a motion to file supplemental assignments of error.


Other Decisions:

None yet.

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