United States v. Meek

44 M.J. 1 (1996)

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United States v. Meek

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
44 M.J. 1 (1996)

Facts

Hull Maintenance Technician Second Class Weston Meek (defendant) hired a civilian attorney to represent him in a special court-martial on theft charges. While the civilian attorney was interviewing Meek in a room at a military legal-service office, the military trial counsel (plaintiff), i.e., prosecutor, in the case and Meek’s detailed, i.e., assigned, military defense counsel both barged into the interview room and, using profanity and rude behaviors, told Meek that his civilian attorney was unqualified and ineffective. The trial counsel also (1) told defense witnesses who were gathered outside the interview room that Meek was trying to worm out of the court-martial, (2) provided legal advice to one defense witness about whether the witness could face military punishment for testifying in Meek’s case, and (3) intimidated another defense witness by threatening him with a court-martial of his own if he showed up at Meek’s trial. Through his civilian attorney, Meek asked the military judge to dismiss the charges against him due to the trial counsel’s prosecutorial misconduct. The military judge found that prosecutorial misconduct had occurred. However, the judge also found that the misconduct had not prejudiced Meek and denied Meek’s request to dismiss the charges. Meek continued to use his civilian attorney and eventually pleaded guilty. Meek then appealed, arguing that the charges should have been dismissed due to the prosecutorial misconduct and that the misconduct had violated his right to effective assistance of counsel.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

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