Two Adults, One Dead Child, Two Court Systems

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Q: Can a civilian and a military service member be tried in separate courts in connection with the same death?

Military murder defense attorneys know that the outcome of a court martial on homicide and homicide-related charges can threaten the future career and freedom of a service member. The outcome of a court-martial can often be more serious and punitive than a similar proceeding in a civilian court.

Not only are the civil and military court systems very different, but the outcome of a military court-martial can be impacted by whether the accused chooses an experienced civilian court-martial defense attorney instead of accepting the free, court-appointed military defense counsel.

With the latter option, the accused may be defended by an often less experienced, overworked attorney who happens to be employed by the same organization that likely considers the accused to be guilty of the charges. An independent civilian defense attorney has more time and resources to devote to an aggressive defense and may be able to poke holes in the prosecution’s case due to factors like evidentiary failures and/or can introduce mitigating factors in an effort to secure reduced charges or sentencing.

After an astonishing six years, a Coastguardsman and his civilian wife were charged recently related to the death of the Coastguardsman’s three-year-old daughter.

The Coastguardsman has reportedly been charged with “four counts of felony child endangerment in connection to the homicide death” because he allegedly “failed to protect and care for his daughter after she sustained injuries that led to her death”. He faces a military court-martial.

The little girl’s stepmother, who had not yet married her father at the time of her death, reportedly was taking care of the girl when she allegedly fell unconscious beside a table. The woman reportedly called an ambulance and told suspicious medical staff that a fall “down a flight of 7-8 concrete steps nine days earlier” caused the “deep bruises on the toddler’s cheek, ears, and neck and cuts on her chest.”  She has been charged with “felony child abuse with a special allegation of willful harm or injury resulting in death for failing to seek medical care” for the child, who died a few days later in the hospital from “blunt force trauma to the head.” She will be tried in a civilian criminal court.

If you are charged with a violent crime, or are facing a court-martial for any offense, the skilled civilian military defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson, and Rosenstein, P.C. will fight for your rights.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, we have a proven track record of defending criminal charges in any branch of the military– anywhere in the world.

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