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Court: Military court can open old conviction

  Military Law  -   POSTED: 2009/06/08 13:26

The Supreme Court said Monday a military court can re-examine the guilty plea for a Nigerian-born serviceman who faces deportation because of his conviction.


Jacob Denedo is a Nigerian-born permanent resident of the United States. He joined the Navy, but pleaded guilty to larceny and was given a bad-conduct discharge in 2000. He says he only accepted those terms because his lawyer told him he would not be deported.

In 2006, Denedo was told by the government he was being deported. He later found out that his lawyer had an alcohol problem and told the court his lawyer "was not sober during the course of the special court-martial proceedings."

Denedo tried to get the military court to set aside his plea deal but the military courts said they no longer have jurisdiction because he is no longer in the Navy.

The Supreme Court said the military courts can re-examine Denedo's case.

"Our holding allows military courts to protect the integrity of their dispositions and processes by granting relief from final judgments in extraordinary cases when it is shown that there were fundamental flaws in the proceedings leading to their issuance," said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the court.


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