Sexual Assault Charges in the Military
Over the past five years, the military has taken an intense approach to the noble goal of eradicating sexual assault. There is an undeniable history in the military, and our American society, of sweeping certain types of criminal allegations under the rug. However, time and again, the clients that call our office have unjustly been put through a process that is misapplied, and as a result they are facing ridiculous sexual assault charges in the military that have no corroboration or credible testimony.
He-Said She-Said Allegations
Perhaps the most frustrating type of allegation to be accused of is sexual assault charges in the military where it is simply based on another person’s word. These cases that are often referred to as “he-said she-said” allegations are taken very seriously by the military. In the years we have spent in military justice, we have seen the military go from almost never prosecuting these cases to almost always prosecuting cases based solely on the word of an alleged victim.
There seems to be no middle ground in cases like this — it’s either all or nothing. The scariest part of cases like this is that it all comes down to the lawyering at hand.
Civilian Attorneys for Sexual Assault Charges in the Military
Sexual assault charges in the military that comes down to the word of the alleged victim can be easily won or lost at the hands of the lawyers for the Accused. Inexperienced defense counsel may not have the experience or technical knowledge to effectively demonstrate that the accuser’s story has inconsistencies. They may not be able to present a credible motive for the accuser to fabricate the offense. Even more difficult is how to present a defense to sexual assault charges in the military where the accuser seems to have an honest but mistaken belief about the events that led to the sexual act.
On the other side of the spectrum, “old-school” civilian counsel have a unique ability of completely alienating the jury. There are many stories, including a well publicized story from a case in Annapolis, in which the old-school civilian attorney attempted to degrade and intimidate the accuser. They do this by using terms such as “sweetheart” or starting stories with “back in my day…”. In other situations, they go on-and-on with unnecessary details of the sexual act, asking such ridiculous questions as “how wide open was your mouth.”
The truth is, military juries today have been engrained in the new style of thought when it comes to the manner in which we treat members of the opposite gender. Long-gone are the days of butt-grabbing behavior or derogatory name calling being acceptable in any way. The key is to NOT minimize the seriousness of the sexual assault climate, but instead, demonstrate that your client is a victim of a false or mistaken allegation.
How to Prove Innocence in Sexual Assault Cases
The benefit to an accused person is that they don’t need to prove their innocence. There must simply be a reasonable doubt as to what happened. How you convince a jury to avoid simply weighing the evidence like it is on a scale is where the art comes in. Too many attorneys get caught up in trying to PROVE that the accuser consented, or that she was not intoxicated. Instead, the art of a court-martial is convincing the jury that it doesn’t matter if they think the crime might have happened, or even if it probably happened, but if there is any lingering reasonable doubt that she may have consented or wasn’t too intoxicated, you must acquit.
Winning Sexual Assault Cases in the Military
We dedicate our practice entire to military law. The overwhelming majority of cases we defend are sexual assault cases. Often we have multiple sexual assault cases per month and are regarding by docketing offices and military judges as the most pervasive civilian presence in military courts-martial. More importantly, our win record is phenomenal. In fact, our win rate is so high, we believe it would be unethical to publish for fear that it will be misinterpreted as a guarantee of success in future cases. Be weary of any attorney that publishes their claimed victory rate because any attorney that is willing to so flagrantly violate the professional ethical rules will likely also be willing to flagrantly violate the rules of your court-martial — and that is guaranteed to go poorly for both you and the attorney!
You can learn more about our recent successes by following our Facebook page or by reading reviews from past clients (Andy’s Reviews | Katie’s Reviews). We have many more unpublished victories and happy clients.