Army November 2016 Court-Martial Results - Panels in Contested Sexual Assault Cases Continue to Vote Not Guilty

Army November 2016 Court-Martial Results - Panels in Contested Sexual Assault Cases Continue to Vote Not Guilty

Fort Bragg Courtroom
The latest court-martial results reported for the Army are from November 2016.

November is a busy month for the trial judiciary. There is historically a push to clear the docket before the holidays.

Bottom line. I still think that the data supports electing a jury/panel in most cases.

Seventy percent of the cases in November were guilty pleas. That is a huge number. Just based on the reporting though, it appears there was sound judgment in accepting plea deals.

The high number probably needs some context. I count 9 cases involving sexual offenses against children. Six were guilty pleas. Two were full acquittals. One was a conviction. If we remove the child sexual assault guilty pleas, the number of deals was a little over 50%. That seems more consistent with past reporting.

It looks like defense counsel exercised good judgment in selecting the cases that resulted in guilty pleas. Most of the guilty pleas involved offenses like AWOL, false statements, and in several cases offenses on children.

Of interest, we watch the numbers in adult sexual assault and sexual contact cases. I count 8 sexual assault-related trials. Most of the trials involved many different allegations. We're looking at the results on the sexual assault charges only.

Only 20% of the total cases in November involved adult sexual assault charges. That number is down from past months. There were guilty pleas in 3 of those cases (33%).

Four cases were contested jury trials that resulted in acquittals. In fact, it appears that juries acquitted 100% of the time in November on sexual assault charges. One of those acquittals was a case that I did.

There were two-judge alone convictions at Fort Riley involving 66 months and 36 months sentences. I would be cautious about going judge alone at Fort Riley.

The total sexual assault convictions all involved 16 months, 24 months, 36 months, and 66-month sentences. I would say that is the full range of sentences in the Army - with 24 months being closer to the average for single victim Article 120 cases.

In terms of total courts, I count the following:

Court-Martial (General and Special): 44
Guilty Pleas: 31 (70%)
Mixed Pleas: 1
Full Contests: 12 (27%)
Jury Trials: 7

First Judicial Circuit: 6 trials
Second Judicial Circuit: 11 trials
Third Judicial Circuit: 10 trials
Fourth Judicial Circuit: 14
Fifth Judicial Circuit: 3