United States v. Hutchins

69 M.J. 282 (2011)

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United States v. Hutchins

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
69 M.J. 282 (2011)

Facts

For 10 months, Judge Advocate Captain Alan Bass was part of a team that represented Marine Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins (defendant) in a court-martial accusing Hutchins of murder. However, Bass was scheduled to separate from active duty and begin terminal leave. The remaining defense attorneys told Hutchins and the military judge that Bass would no longer serve on the defense team because Bass was separating from active duty soon. The military judge did not question the defense attorneys about the specific reasons that Bass was separating from active duty or why his separation meant that Bass had to withdraw from representing Hutchins. No other evidence was introduced about the reasons for Bass’s withdrawal. Hutchins was convicted and appealed. Hutchins argued, among other things, that Bass had improperly terminated his representation of Hutchins and that this had prejudiced Hutchins’s ability to present his defense.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Effron, C.J.)

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