Alleged Sexual Assault Victim’s “Confidentiality” Pierced by Army Appellate Court

Earlier this summer an U.S. Army Judge ruled that statements made by an alleged sexual assault victim to her victim advocate were discoverable on account of AR 600-20 provisions related to “unrestricted” complaints.  Simply stated, in his learned view an “unrestricted” filing is akin to a waiver of any associated “victim advocate” privilege. Government prosecutors filed an appeal to preclude this discovery IAW MRE 514 (d)(6).  On 11 June 2015, the U.S. Army Court of  Criminal Appeals (ACCA)  in Lippert, Powell est. 2015 CCA LEXIS 257 upheld the military judge’s ruling.  The valuable lesson is this, if the complaining victim consults with a victim advocate, after having filed a “unrestricted report” the defense should now aggressively seek any and all related discovery regarding those previously “off limits” conversations.

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