Post-Trial Re-Negotiation of PreTrial Agreement
Overview of post-trial re-negotiation of pretrial agreement:
United States v. Pilkington
, 51 M.J. 415 (C.A.A.F. 1999). An accused has the right to enter into an enforceable post-trial agreement with the convening authority when the parties decide that such an agreement is mutually beneficial. Accused pled guilty to conspiracy to maltreat subordinates, maltreatment, false official statements, and assault. In a pretrial agreement, the convening authority agreed to suspend the bad-conduct discharge for 12 months. Accused and the convening authority agreed, in a post-trial agreement, that the latter could approve the punitive discharge as long as he “limited confinement to 90 days.” On appeal, the accused argued that the post-trial agreement should be invalidated because it prevented judicial scrutiny of the terms and conditions. The court refused to invalidate the agreement, noting that the accused proposed the agreement after full consultation with counsel, stated that he voluntarily entered the agreement, and the post-trial agreement was directly related to the convening authority’s obligations under the sentencing provisions of the pretrial agreement. Additionally, the court held that while the trial court did not review the post-trial agreement, the intermediate appellate court always have the opportunity to review such agreements.
- United States v. Dawson
, 51 M.J. 411 (C.A.A.F. 1999). Accused and CA agreed to aPTA in which the first 30 days of any adjudged punishment would be converted into 15 days’ restriction. Confinement in excess of 30 days would be suspended. The accused received 100 days confinement and a BCD. She was placed on restriction, missed a muster, and was notified of pending vacation proceedings. She went AWOL, but was later apprehended and placed in confinement. Accused entered a new agreement with the CA where she agreed to waive the right to appear at a hearing to vacate the suspension of her sentence (the SJA had opined the one held in her absence was illegal), to waive any claims she might have concerning post-apprehension confinement, and to release the CA from the prior agreement. In return, the CA would withdraw the new absence charge, and provide day-for-day credit toward her time served in “pretrial confinement” (on the new charge). The SJA advised that, based on the errors that occurred in the first trial, he should disapprove all confinement. The CA approved the BCD and disapproved the confinement. CAAF held that this was a valid post-trial agreement that did not involve post-trial renegotiation of an approved PTA. The agreement related to proceedings collateral to the original trial, and did not require the approval of a military judge.