United States v. Rush

54 M.J. 313 (2001)

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United States v. Rush

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
54 M.J. 313 (2001)

Facts

Army Private Maurice Rush (defendant) was convicted of threatening and assaulting two other servicemembers. Before the sentencing phase of the court-martial, the military judge told the attorneys which sentencing instructions the judge intended to give the court-martial’s members. The judge’s proposed instructions included a mandatory bad-conduct-discharge instruction. This instruction informed the court-martial’s members that a bad-conduct discharge was a serious punishment that would deprive a servicemember of all service-related benefits. Rush’s attorney asked the judge to also give what was known as the ineradicable-stigma instruction. This instruction informed the court-martial’s members that (1) a bad-conduct discharge carried a stigma that could harm the individual’s future legal rights, economic opportunities, and social acceptance and (2) this stigma was ineradicable, i.e., could not be eliminated or destroyed. Without explaining his decision, the military judge denied the request to present the ineradicable-stigma instruction to the court-martial’s members. Rush was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge and other punishments. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the sentence. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces agreed to review the sentencing-instruction issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

Concurrence (Crawford, C.J.)

Concurrence (Effron, J.)

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