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United States v. Dinges

55 M.J. 308 (2001)

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United States v. Dinges

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

55 M.J. 308 (2001)

Facts

Colonel M was the wing commander at Tinker Air Force Base. As part of his community-relations efforts, M accepted an offer to be a district chairman for the Boy Scouts. In this position, M’s only duties were to attend meetings every few months. However, as a result of M’s connection to the Boy Scouts, M received information that Air Force Captain Warren Dinges (defendant), a scoutmaster, had allegedly been involved in a consensual, sexual relationship with a scout over the age of 16. Civilian authorities were not interested in the information. However, because of his rank, M was a special court-martial convening authority. In this role, M initiated an investigation into the allegations against Dinges and determined that there was sufficient information to warrant an Article 32 investigation. M helped Dinges to find a position at Tinker while the investigation went forward. Based on the results of the Article 32 investigation, M recommended that the matter be referred to a general court-martial. A general court-martial was convened, and Dinges was sentenced. Dinges appealed, arguing that M was not allowed to be a convening authority in the prosecution because M’s connection to the Boy Scouts gave M a personal interest in the prosecution. The appellate court held a DuBay hearing to gather evidence regarding M’s interest in the prosecution and then reviewed the appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Crawford, C.J.)

Dissent (Effron, J.)

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