The skilled court martial appeals attorneys at Aviso Law LLC represent military members that are seeking to appeal a conviction of sexual assault. A conviction for sexual assault of any kind is a serious matter, especially in the military. These convictions can and usually do lead to harsh penalties such as prison time and a mandatory dishonorable discharge. Therefore, it is in your best interests to have an experienced court martial attorney on your side to make the most of your appeal. Our experienced Denver and Colorado Springs attorneys can help you with all matters relating to your appeal.
As a result of a series of studies showing the prevalence of sexual assault in the military, the government is taking the matter very seriously. In recent years, there have been a number of revisions and amendments to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other laws relating to courts martial of this nature. These changes include the breakdown of sexual assault into a variety of different crimes giving various acts the potential to result in serious criminal convictions. The government has also instituted new protections for victims in these cases and as well as mandatory sentences for those convicted. The changes in the law make it easier for the government to obtain a conviction for sexual assault and to punish those convicted more harshly.
The good news is that many of those convicted of sexual assault at court martial or by pleading guilty are entitled to an automatic appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals for their branch of service. It is imperative that you make the most out of this automatic appeal by retaining a knowledgeable civilian attorney. Although you are appointed an attorney to represent you for this type of appeal, they are often lacking insight from regularly litigating sexual assault courts-martial, and are inexperienced and overwhelmed by work. Retaining your own private attorney can make all the difference in your case. The attorneys at Aviso Law LLC will work hard to either overturn your conviction at this level or to preserve the issues for further appeal.
There are often a wide variety of appellate issues that arise in courts-martial for sexual assault. Under the UCMJ, all sexual assault victims are entitled to a victims counsel at the initiation of the proceedings. This attorney is allowed to and often does participate in the Article 32 hearing, where a judge advocate hearing officer decides whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the accused. This results in a variety of issues including whether the Accused received a fair Article 32 preliminary hearing and whether the victims counsel exceeded their authority.
Usually, the majority of evidence in a sexual assault case is of an unclear and conflicting nature. One party claims that the events occurred in a certain way and the other party claims the opposite. The court must decide which party to believe based on their credibility. While the trial court makes determinations on credibility of the evidence, the appellate court can review the evidence in its entirety and decide that it is insufficient to warrant a conviction.
Another appellate issue often results from the use of rape shield laws under Military Rule of Evidence 412 and 413. These laws usually prevent the defense from entering evidence of the victim’s past sexual conduct. Many times our attorneys will challenge rulings on this evidence at the appellate level.
There are many other issues that can and will arise in a sexual assault appeal. The attorneys at Aviso Law LLC are experienced in identifying and highlighting any and all that might be beneficial to their client during the appeals process. We represent members of all ranks, in all branches and will travel to where you are stationed. Contact our Denver and Colorado Springs attorneys today by calling (719) 247-3111 for a free consultation.