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Category Archives: Court Martial

Gavel Over Wooden Blocks With Text Verdict

The Closing Argument, Part 2

By Capovilla & Williams |

All of the evidence, all of the arguments: everything comes down to the closing statement. I follow four principles when it comes time to bring together all the threads in the trial and present a cohesive, credible, and memorable case to the panel. In the closing argument, I develop my theories of the case… Read More »

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The Closing Argument, Part 1

By Capovilla & Williams |

Your attorney has argued your case, presented the evidence, examined and cross-examined the witnesses. Now it’s time to bring it all home in the closing statement. The stakes couldn’t be higher. When I prepare a closing statement, I follow four principles to make sure I’m delivering the most logical, persuasive argument possible. This post… Read More »

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Getting to Truth on Cross-Examination

By Capovilla & Williams |

Courtrooms are places where stories are told. Your attorney’s cross-examination of the witnesses for the prosecution reveals the holes in their story and demonstrates the credibility of yours. As legendary trial attorney Gerry Spence puts it, “Basic cross-examination is nothing more than a true-or-false test administered to the witness.” The Rules of Cross-Examination Drawing… Read More »

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Military Justice Today Podcast: Special Guest Colby Vokey

By Capovilla & Williams |

There is a new episode of the Military Justice Today podcast available today and it’s a good one.  Rob Capovilla and Mickey Williams talk with prominent military law attorney, Colby Vokey, about one of the more recent and egregious cases of unlawful command influence. The guys dug into what happened in Colby’s client’s case… Read More »

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Court of Law and Justice Trial: Portrait of Beautiful Female Wit

Let Them Speak: Direct Examination of Witnesses

By Capovilla & Williams |

The burden of proof at a court martial is on the prosecution: if they can’t prove to the panel beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you’re accused of, you’ll go free. This simple fact determines the structure of the trial proceedings. After opening statements from both sides, the prosecuting attorney will… Read More »

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Handwritten words just the facts on the dark surface.

Opening Statements: The Story Begins

By Capovilla & Williams |

Popular culture reveres the closing argument. Movies like My Cousin Vinny or A Time to Kill emphasize the importance of the closing statement. Who can forget “now imagine she’s white”? The entire courtroom stops; the judge is touched by emotion, and the jury is in tears. This isn’t how it works in real life…. Read More »

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Jury box in small county courthouse.

Voir Dire and Panel Selection

By Capovilla & Williams |

After your arraignment and motions hearings, and after the court has decided what kind of evidence it will and won’t allow, your trial officially begins with the selection of your panel. As we noted earlier the panel—the military’s term for jury—consists of eight servicemembers of your own rank or higher selected from a pool… Read More »

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The “He Has Done It Before Rule”

By Capovilla & Williams |

Generally speaking, the rules for a court martial do not allow prosecutors to introduce as evidence other crimes committed by the defendant in the past. Military Rule of Evidence 413 is an exception. Rule 413 says that accusations of prior sexual misconduct can be admitted at a sexual assault court martial as evidence of… Read More »

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Who’s Who at the Court Martial

By Capovilla & Williams |

Military courts-martial are similar to civilian trials, but there are some notable differences. The most important have to do with the key officials assigned to the court by the convening authority. The Military Judge The military judge presides over your case during the trial, and is also the final authority in all matters having… Read More »

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