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  • United States v. CartrightUnited States v. Cartright
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United States v. Cartright

United States Air Force Court of Military Appeals
2013 WL 4734520 (2013)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Cartright (defendant), an Air Force enlisted man, for abusive sexual contact with a substantially incapacitated person, in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 120(h), which was the military equivalent of 18 U.S.C. § 2232a. The court martial evidence established that AL, a female airman, and DL, a male airman, were staying overnight at Cartright's off-base house after an evening of socializing and heavy drinking. Several times during the night, Cartright molested AL sexually while she slept. Cartright broke off these molestations whenever AL woke up, and whenever she asked what he was doing, Cartright reassured her and she went back to sleep. The next morning, AL told DL about these incidents. DL testified that AL appeared neither hung over nor upset, and she proceeded to make breakfast for everyone and drive the two men to the airbase. DL mentioned the incidents to Cartright a week later, and Cartright said he did not remember them because he had been drunk at the time. Word of the incidents reached AL's supervisor, who reported Cartright to Air Force investigators. The military judge denied Cartright's motion for an instruction defining substantial incapacitation as a person's complete inability to be aware of, or respond in any way to, external circumstances or stimuli. Instead, the judge instructed the panel that substantial incapacitation can be induced by intoxication, sleep, unconsciousness, or anything else that renders a person unable to appraise or physically communicate non-consent or other competent decisions with respect to the sexual conduct at issue. The court martial panel found Cartright guilty and he appealed to the Air Force Court of Military Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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