Denver, CO Martial Law Blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in Military Sex Assault Cases

Q: What is the mandatory minimum sentence for military sex assault convictions?

If an Army attorney with special victim prosecutor experience hires a skilled civilian military defense attorney to defend him, rather than trusting his fate and future to a free military court-appointed defense attorney, there is likely good reason to do so.

Because the government has instituted mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assault offenses, it's particularly important to hire a skilled court-martial defense attorney with sexual assault experience. A conviction means a minimum punishment of dismissal or dishonorable discharge.

This mandatory minimum sentencing is, in part, due to public pressure on the military to show it has a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to sexually-related charges. The same pressure can lead to stricter punishments overall in the event of a conviction.

While you can appeal a court martial conviction, it’s easier to avoid the conviction in the first place when possible.

The Army captain reportedly faces “three counts of sexual assault and three counts of assault consummated by battery" in connection with his romance with another Army attorney. His accuser alleges he crossed the line in their consensual "rough sex and domination-submission" relationship and she accused him of "holding a knife to [her] throat, choking her and forcing her to have sex without a condom, violating an explicit rule she had set forth."

The defense contends the accuser "knew exactly what the relationship involved", and that the accuser is a trained martial artist who was "physically capable" of fighting him off. In addition, a string of the accused's former girlfriends and lovers reportedly provided character statements in support of the captain’s alleged respect toward women. No plea was entered at the captain’s initial arraignment.

If you have been charged or expect to be charged with sexual misconduct or sexual assault in the military, the skilled civilian military defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein can help you. We will aggressively defend you to give you the best possible chance of staying out of prison. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, we represent service members of all ranks, in all branches, anywhere in the world.


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