Appeals Under the UCMJ
If you have been convicted of an offense in a court-martial, it can have a devastating impact on your freedom, your career and your future. There can be severe adverse "collateral" consequences just from the conviction: sex offender registration, loss of the ability to own or possess guns, and limitations on the right to vote. And of course, you may lose all of your hard-earned VA benefits; the most important of which is the educational benefit.
While many courts-martial are automatically appealed, changes made in 2019 open up the formal appeals process to someone convicted but who does not get a punitive discharge or more than one-year confinement. The process is new, but those of us who have done court-martial appeals for many years are still finding this to be a complex process but one extending a benefit to convicted servicemembers.
As you military defense appeals lawyer we work for you. The process involved with appealing a ruling is very complex, and the assistance of an experienced military defense lawyer can be invaluable.
At The Law Office of Cave & Freeburg, LLP, we represent United States service members worldwide in all types of UCMJ violations. We prepared to represent you in the appeal of any conviction. I have dedicated my entire legal career to military defense and security clearance law. You can rely on me to do everything in my power to see that your rights, your privileges and your career remain fully intact.
I have experience handling appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeals as well as the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. I understand the unique procedures involved with pursuing an appeal, and I know how to present your case in a way that is compelling to the court. I will conduct a thorough review of your court-martial and develop the most effective approach to getting your conviction overturned.
In order for an appeal to be successful, it must be shown that some error in the proceeding negatively impacted the outcome of the court-martial. Examples of errors that can create grounds for an appeal are as follows:
- Abuse of discretion by the military judge in allowing the prosecution to present certain types of evidence.
- Procedural violations such as discovery problems, speedy trial, or jurisdictional errors.
- Abuse of authority which is called unlawful command influence.
- Failures in the application of the UCMJ
- Factual sufficiency can be raised at the first level of appeal before the court of criminal appeals. If the appeal judges are not convinced you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt they can dismiss the charges. Here again, Congress has been meddling and made it harder and more complex to litigate this issue.
The first contact with you or your family member is an initial free consultation. To make that effective we need to know the following (which you could send in an email when you reach out to us).
1. Date of trial?
2. Where was the trial?
3. What was the sentence?
4. What charges were you convicted of?
5. Did you plead guilty or not guilty?
6. Was your trial by Members (jury) or was it military judge alone.
7. Did you testify?
8. Who were your lawyers at trial?
After this consultation we can do a Case Evaluation. (We charge a fee for this.)
Here we thoroughly reviewed all the available documents and record of trial, talk to you, talk to your defense counsel; after which we give you an analysis of your case.
If we cannot help you we will tell you that.
If we can help you, we will then discuss the fee for full representation.
1. We get the full record of trial and do another thorough review.
a. The first read helps us get an understanding of the case and pick out what we see as glaring errors or interesting issues.
b. We then talk to you again and give you homework. We want you to write down everything you think was wrong about your trial. This helps us as we do more review of the case.
c. The second read is focused on what happened during the trial; the testimony, the cross-examination, objections made by your defense counsel, pretrial motions to admit or exclude evidence or get expert assistance, the prosecutors arguments, the judge's instructions; and also the exhibits. As we go through we are taking notes and doing some basic research as a way to outline the issues for appeal.
d. We will talk to you again and explain what we are seeing and out thoughts. We will ask you to give us feedback and your thoughts.
e. The third and fourth look is where we start writing your brief for submission to the court. We are outlining the issues and writing arguments based on the facts and the law.
f. As we go through the drafting stages we constantly refine the arguments and find additional caselaw to support your cause. We also try to think creatively and "out of the box." We are always interested in developing new issues or arguments.
g. Once we have a final draft we will get you a copy to review.
h. The last step is to double-check everything.
i. Once we all are satisfied with the brief it will get filed.
NOTE: all of this takes time because we want to get it right.
So, Discuss Your Case With A Respected International Military Defense Appeals Attorney
You can reach me by phone at 703-298-9562, toll free at 800-401-1583 or via email. Once I am hired, and depending on any travel restrictions, I try to visit each appellate client in the confinement facility once or several times--I find our communications and understanding is much better (there are some additional costs with the travel to anywhere except the Navy Brig at Chesapeake, VA, or Charleston, SC).
We are admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA), the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA), the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA), and the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA). Each of the courts is within a short driving distance from us.