Q: Can a cadet face a court-martial?
While his peers were studying for final exams and preparing for graduation from the Air Force Academy, one senior cadet was spending time with his civilian court-martial defense attorney.
After an evening at the only bar on campus, the cadet found himself facing a court- martial for sexual assault.
At first glance, many may have felt that the evidence against the cadet was overwhelming and damaging, but a civilian military defense attorney with the time and resources to devote to a proper and aggressive defense can often overcome witness testimony and DNA forensic evidence and take down a case “based on assumptions”. That apparently is what happened in the instant action.
The defense had to overcome witness testimony that allegedly placed the accused with his pants down in the female cadet’s dorm room after she left the campus bar reportedly so drunk she was half-carried home. She basically had “no recollection of the attack” whereas the defense contended the sex was consensual. Engaging in sex and/or just being in the same dorm room as the opposite sex is not allowed under academy regulations.
Although acquitted of sexual assault after court martial– – a charge which may have brought him prison time– the decision on what disciplinary action the cadet will face for allegedly breaking the “no sex in the dormitory” and/or “stay out of the opposite sex’s dorm room” rules is pending.
Being charged with a crime in the military is frightening. Trusting your military career, benefits, finances, freedom, and in some cases your life to a free court-appointed defense attorney may be risky. Such defense attorneys are often inexperienced, overworked, and without access to the best resources for a successful defense.
In addition, there may be undue command influence issues at play when being defended by the same organization that’s prosecuting you. In the case at hand, “whether her decision to pursue sexual assault charges was unduly influenced by her squadron commander and others” was reportedly raised.
If you are or believe you might be facing a military court martial, the skilled civilian military defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, we represent service members of all ranks, in all branches, anywhere in the world.