Legal Question in Military Law in Maryland

Please Help

Can an E-2 be tried in a Captain--name removed--Mass or court-martial if the only evidence in the case is other people--name removed--written statements ( Hear-say)

Asked on 8/13/07, 3:12 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

John K. Harris Attorney at Law

Re: Please Help

You should probably consult an attorney about your case.

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Answered on 8/13/07, 11:05 pm
Neal Puckett The Law Firm of Puckett and Faraj, PC

Re: Please Help

Yes. The rules of evidence that apply at a court-martial do not apply at a Captain's Mast, or Art 15 hearing. Witnesses can testify as to what they saw or heard. That's not always "hearsay" evidence. The commander who holds the hearing can consider whatever evidence is available. You should consult the legal office for advice as to the rights you have at Captain's Mast.

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Answered on 8/14/07, 6:27 am
Anthony DeWitt Bartimus, Frickleton Robertson & Gorny, PC

Re: Please Help

Hearsay has a specific legal definition. Suppose you walk by and hear Jim and Bob discussing drug use. You hear Bob say "Jim, you took a lot of ecstasy last night." Jim reaches into his pocket and pulls out a bottle of ecstasy and says, "yes I did, do you want some."

If Jim is on trial, Jim's statements can be used against him because he is a party. They are not considered hearsay because they are his statements. Bob's statement "you took a lot of ecstasy last night" can't be used against Jim because it is hearsay. However, Bob can be called to testify, and must testify truthfully.

If Bob is on trial, Bob's statement can be used against him, but Jim's statement "do you want some?" is hearsay.

You could always testify about what you saw. That's not hearsay. Hearsay is when someone is repeating what they heard someone else say.

You would be smart to consult with JAG and discuss whether it is better to go the nonjudicial punishment route rather than a court martial.

Good luck.

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Answered on 8/14/07, 9:45 am

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