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United States v. Smith

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
68 M.J. 445 (C.A.A.F. 2010)


Facts

While Cadet SR, a female cadet, was in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Academy, she had consensual sex with a member of the USCG. This act could have jeopardized Cadet SR’s ranking and career at the USCG. When Smith (defendant), another cadet at the Academy, heard a rumor about the incident, he asked Cadet SR about it. Cadet SR lied to Smith about the incident, telling him that the sex was nonconsensual. Cadet SR later told Smith the truth that the sex was consensual. Smith and Cadet SR then engaged in sexual relations, which were prohibited among cadets even if consensual. When Smith was investigated for these relations, Cadet SR told authorities that the relations were nonconsensual. Smith was charged with sexual assault. At trial, Smith sought to introduce, as evidence, Cadet SR’s sex with the USCG member, as well as her lying to Smith about the details. Smith sought to impeach Cadet SR’s credibility by demonstrating that because Cadet SR had previously lied about her sexual activity, she was more likely to be lying about the charges against Smith. The trial court permitted Smith to introduce evidence that Cadet SR had lied to him about an indiscretion that could have jeopardized her ranking and career at the USCG. The trial court did not permit Smith to introduce the specifics of the indiscretion in that it was related to sex with a member of the USCG. Smith was convicted. The United States Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. Smith filed a petition for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stucky, J.)

Concurrence (Baker, J.)

Dissent (Erdmann, J.)

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