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Wrongfully convicted in UCMJ court. DNA evidence ignored

Discussion in 'Criminal Records, Expungement' started by UCMJ Failed me, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. UCMJ Failed me

    UCMJ Failed me Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    US Federal Law
    In 2001, I was convicted of rape (Art. 120) in a UCMJ court-martial. The alleged victim stated that she had snuck out of the barracks (she was a new recruit starting basic training), and was attacked by a tall skinny guy with tribal tattoos on his arms. I even came into the equation because I have tribal tattoos on my arms; She never mentioned me by name or anything like that, it was a vague description. When the rape kit was done, it came back and said that I was not a match for the profile, but I was still convicted, served time, and now I've had to register as a sex offender for roughly 10 years now. How this happened is beyond me, I've tried to contact legal help for this, but I'm pretty much told by everybody that they can't help me because its a military case and I dont seem to get responses from military lawyers around the local bases etc. How can I get this fixed? This takes somewhat of a toll mentally, and has been an issue both in my personal life, as well as getting jobs. What should I do here? I'm sort of at a loss. I have the DD214 as well as the DNA paperwork readily available.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You have several issues in appealing a conviction pursuant to a general courts martial.

    THE GOOD NEWS:
    .
    Right to an Attorney
    You have the right to an attorney during your court-martial proceedings and all the way through every level of appeal you file. You can either use the military defense attorney (called a judge advocate) or hire a civilian attorney to represent you.

    THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS:
    .
    If a military member is convicted and sentenced in a General Court-Martial or Special Court-Martial trial, and after the post-trial clemency process is completed, the military member still has post-trial appeal opportunities.

    Depending upon the length of the court-martial sentence, the military member can either appeal to the Judge Advocate General (TJAG) of his/her service branch or the military branch appellate court. The following appellate courts review military courts-martial:

    - The Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA)
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    www.jagcnet.army.mil/acca
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    https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/acca


    These appellate courts review the courts martial for legal error, factual sufficiency, and appropriateness of sentence. The following post-trial rules govern the court-martial appeal process:

    - Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM)
    Chapter XII: Appeals and Review
    - RCM 1201: Action by the Judge Advocate General
    - RCM 1202: Appellate Counsel
    - RCM 1203: Review by a Court of Criminal Appeals
    - RCM 1204: Review by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
    - RCM 1205: Review by the Supreme Court
    - RCM 1206: Powers and Responsibilities of the Secretary
    - RCM 1207: Sentences Requiring Approval by the President
    - RCM 1208: Restoration
    - RCM 1209: Finality of Courts-Martial
    - RCM 1210: New Trial
    - UCMJ Article 62: Appeal by the United States
    - UCMJ Article 63: Rehearings
    - UCMJ Article 64: Review by a Judge Advocate
    - UCMJ Article 65: Disposition of Records
    - UCMJ Article 66: Review by Court of Criminal Appeals
    - UCMJ Article 67: Review by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
    - UCMJ Article 68: Branch Offices
    - UCMJ Article 69: Review in the Office of the Judge Advocate General
    - UCMJ Article 70: Appellate Counsel
    - UCMJ Article 71: Execution of Sentence; Suspension of Sentence
    - UCMJ Article 72: Vacation of Suspension
    - UCMJ Article 73: Petition for a New Trial
    - UCMJ Article 74: Remission and Suspension
    - UCMJ Article 75: Restoration
    - UCMJ Article 76: Finality of Proceedings, Findings, and Sentences

    The appellate process is rigid, as well as perfunctory.

    After 15 years, confined or not, the appellate process has tolled.


    Although a military member may have been convicted and sentenced in a court-martial trial, and the conviction and sentence may have been approved by the courts martial Convening Authority in the post-trial clemency process, there are still opportunities for relief and/or appeal.

    As you've discovered, courts martial conviction and sentence can have devastating legal, professional, personal and family consequences. Experienced and aggressive defense representation is crucial in the post-trial appeal phase of a military court-martial trial.

    If you took a plea, there's no way out.
    If you were convicted, you can seek a full presidential pardon.
    Those are rare, extremely rare.

    You can seek clemency through the Secretary of Defense, and/or the president. Again, that's rare, too.

    The last time I attended a briefing on military appeals, it was revealed that appellate relief is granted in fewer than 10% of all cases.

    Pardons are less than 1%, and clemency about 3-4% of all cases.

    You can ask for help by writing or corresponding with one of your US Senators, your congressperson, the SecDef, SecArmy (who as some limited ability to grant relief), and/or the sitting president.

    You might find this article instructive:
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    Appealing a Military Court-Martial Conviction | Nolo.com
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  3. UCMJ failed

    UCMJ failed New Member

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    Thank you for your quick response sir. How would someone go about asking for a pardon via a higher up government official? I've emailed the FL congressmen with no reply so far, but I actually was wondering earlier today if it would be worth the time to contact the sitting president.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The information about presidential pardons is available on the president's website. Google it, and you'll discover the link.

    Only you can say if its worth it.

    Congressional inquiries take time.
    You can also initiate a congressional inquiry by calling the senator's or the congressperson's office, or by filing your complaint online.

    Again, a Google search will reveal the website link required.

    Were you convicted by general courts martial?
    What year?
    Did you take a plea?
    Did you serve time in confinement at Leavenworth?
    What was your highest rank held?
    A service member must be reduced to E1 to be confined.
    If you were commissioned, or held a warrant, that is a lengthy process.

    Tell me about the appeals you've already received.

    I suspect your appeals have been exhausted.
    If true, clemency or a pardon is your only hope.
    As I said, both are rare, and hitting a lottery's big prize is more likely.
    That's how rare relief is in forthcoming via the pardon or clemency routes.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  6. UCMJ failed

    UCMJ failed New Member

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    Yes sir, I was convicted in a General Court-Martial, The year of the incident was 2001, but my court martial was in 2002. The DNA results came in November of 2001 while I was in pre-trial confinement at Ft. Sill, OK which I also did the rest of my sentence at. My highest rank was
    E-3, but it was reduced to E-1 after my court martial to more or less make it work out that the guards outranked the people confined. I was told that the appeal packet was sent out in 2006, but I wasnt living at the address on my 214, and I havent for a long time. I have a theory that alot of it had to do with the fact that it was at Ft. Leonard Wood, just because something like that going unsolved would make the CID and MP look bad, and they both train at that post. I think the girls dad was some kind of decorated veteran as well, so I dont know how much that mattered, but I just spend alot of time trying to wrap my head around the whole situation still. I've thought about contacting all kinds of groups, and I actually have a lady who writes for some newspaper calling tomorrow for a phone interview with me about it, but I also know she's not an attorney, but she's seen my DNA paperwork and my 214. I would like to think that something like this wouldnt fly in this country, but every time I've tried to do something, I pretty much hit a wall. In reality, I dont care too much anymore about my military discharge status; I'd rather just be off of the sex offender registry for something I didnt even do. Its hard to hold a job because people just simply dont want to be associated with people on the registry, which is somewhat understandable. In all reality, youre probably the only person that has really even been curious about it lol
     
  7. UCMJ failed

    UCMJ failed New Member

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    I printed out the PDF letter from their site and sent it out a few days ago actually. They said specifically not to include anything, but I'm hoping to hear back from them and get a chance to show them my DNA papers

    *EDIT

    I forgot in include, that No, I didnt take a plea. They offered one, but I felt like it was "god" testing me or something like that and turned it down and pled not guilty
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You were reduced in rank to E1 in order to allow you to be confined subsequent to a courts martial.
    E2 and above cant be confined pursuant to a finding or a plea of guilt.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    It takes time and persistence to get people interested.
    So, you'll have to wait.
    However, you hurt yourself by saying you want off the sexual offender registry.
    You should say, I'm innocent.
    I was wrongfully convicted.
    I was incarcerated subsequent to the wrongful conviction.
    The DNA evidence EXONERATED me, yet I was convicted.
    I want justice.
    I want my good name back.
    I want a new trial.
    It's not about the registry.
    When you simply mention wanting off the registry, it serves as a trigger to those who MIGHT help as a subtle way of saying you were guilty.
    Nw you're seeking technicalities, not justice to set you free and cleanse your record and good name.
    Part of that is to seek an honorable discharge, because you we're innocent and served honorably.

    I'm not curious, son.
    I'm a retired general officer, one star.
    I served as a military judge for years.
    I was a JAG, not a jag off (LOL), for 3/4s of my career, having been a ranger and did 4 years in 'Nam, way back in the day.
    I know he it works.
    I only inquired in order to be more helpful with my response.

    Publicity, good publicity by the media can help.

    I'll try to guide you, but the moment I sense you're lying, or not being forthcoming, I'm done.

    So, be sure to answer every question in the order I ask.
    You haven't done that.
    There's several reasons I ask questions.
    Work with me.
    No promises, but I'll try to be helpful.
     
  10. UCMJ failed

    UCMJ failed New Member

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    It's certainly more than any attorneys have done to help me get it done right lol. If you have an e-mail address you're willing to share with me, I can talk with you that way, and I can even email you the DNA paperwork and the 214 so you can see it for yourself lol. I'm willing to work with anyone who can help me out, you have no idea how much some help with how to work in the system would help me out, plus I can talk more freely when its not so much in the public eye
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I'll send you a private convo invite.
     
  12. UCMJ failed

    UCMJ failed New Member

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    Awesome, Thank you!
     

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