UNITED STATES, Appellee
Patrick A. MIZGALA, Airman First Class
Crim. App. No. 34822
ERDMANN, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which GIERKE, C.J., and EFFRON and BAKER, JJ., joined. CRAWFORD, J., filed a separate opinion concurring in the result and dissenting in part.
For Appellant: Major James M. Winner (argued); Colonel Beverly B. Knott, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos L. McDade, Major Terry L. McElyea, and Major Andrew S. Williams (on brief).
For Appellee: Major John C. Johnson (argued); Colonel LeEllen Coacher and Lieutenant Colonel Robert V. Combs (on brief); Lieutenant Colonel Gary F. Spencer.
Military Judge: Gregory E. Pavlik
This opinion is subject to revision before final publication.
Judge ERDMANN delivered the opinion of the court.
First Class Patrick A. Mizgala entered guilty pleas to numerous offenses1
and was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge, confinement for nine
of all pay and allowances, and reduction to the grade of E-1. The convening authority reduced the amount of
forfeitures but approved the balance of the sentence.
The United States Air Force Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed the findings and sentence.
Article 10, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U.S.C. § 810 (2000), assures the right of a speedy trial to military members by providing that “[w]hen any person subject to this chapter is placed in arrest or confinement prior to trial, immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.”
Mizgala was initially held in pretrial confinement for 117 days. His timely motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial under Article 10 was denied by the military judge and Mizgala entered unconditional guilty pleas to all of the charges. We granted review to determine whether Mizgala’s unconditional guilty pleas waived appellate review of the speedy trial motion and, if not, whether Mizgala was denied his Article 10 right to a speedy trial.2 We find that Mizgala’s unconditional guilty plea did not waive his right to appellate review of his litigated speedy trial motion, but find that his Article 10 right to speedy trial was not violated.
The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals found that Mizgala waived consideration of his Article 10 claim by his unconditional guilty plea. In addition, that court held that even if the speedy trial issue had not been waived, there was no violation of Mizgala’s Article 10 rights. After noting that the military judge incorrectly used a “gross negligence” standard, the court concluded that the military judge’s error was not prejudicial, citing Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972).
Speedy Trial under the UCMJ
Congress enacted various speedy trial provisions in the UCMJ to address concerns about “the length of time that a man will be placed in confinement and held there pending his trial”; to prevent an accused from “languish[ing] in a jail somewhere for a considerable length of time” awaiting trial or disposition of charges; to protect the accused’s rights to a speedy trial without sacrificing the ability to defend himself; to provide responsibility in the event that someone unnecessarily delays a trial; and to establish speedy trial protections under the UCMJ “consistent with good procedure and justice.” Uniform Code of Military Justice: Hearings on H.R. 2498 Before a Subcomm. of the House Comm. on Armed Services, 81st Cong. 905-12, 980-983, 1005 (1949). See United States v. Tibbs, 15 C.M.A. 350, 359, 35 C.M.R. 322, 331 (1965)(Ferguson, J., dissenting); United States v. Hounshell, 7 C.M.A. 3, 7-8, 21 C.M.R. 129, 133-34 (1956).
is incarcerated pending disposition of charges under the UCMJ, Congress
placed the onus on the Government to take “immediate steps” to move
to trial. Article 10,
UCMJ. “Particularly, [Congress]
indicated that delay cannot be condoned if the accused is in arrest or
While our cases have sometimes adopted different approaches to Article 10 speedy trial issues, they have consistently stressed the significant role Article 10 plays when servicemembers are confined prior to trial. We have referred to the right to a speedy trial as a “fundamental right” of the accused, United States v. Parish, 17 C.M.A. 411, 416, 38 C.M.R. 209, 214 (1968), and as “[u]nquestionably . . . a substantial right,” Hounshell, 7 C.M.A. at 6, 21 C.M.R. at 132. A number of our earlier cases included speedy disposition of charges under the concept of “military due process.” United States v. Prater, 20 C.M.A. 339, 342, 43 C.M.R. 179, 182 (1971) (citing United States v. Schlack, 14 C.M.A. 371, 34 C.M.R. 151 (1964)). See also United States v. Williams, 16 C.M.A. 589, 593, 37 C.M.R. 209 (1967).
The Government urges us to find that an unconditional guilty plea effectively waives a servicemember’s Article 10 speedy trial rights in all instances. In support of their argument the Government directs our attention to Sixth Amendment jurisprudence, Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 707(e), and the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93-619, 88 Stat. 2070, and points out that the speedy trial protection under each of those provisions is waived by an unconditional guilty plea. We will examine each of these areas in turn.
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution contains the constitutional guarantee to a speedy trial.3 Although the text of the amendment does not address waiver, courts have held that the Sixth Amendment right is waived by a voluntary guilty plea. See Cox v. Lockhart, 970 F.2d 448, 453 (8th Cir. 1992)(“A voluntary plea of guilty constitutes a waiver of all non-jurisdictional defects[,] . . . [and] the right to a speedy trial is non-jurisdictional in nature.”) (citation omitted); Tiemans v. United States, 724 F.2d 928, 929 (11th Cir. 1984) (“[A] guilty plea waives all non-jurisdictional defects occurring prior to the time of the plea, including violations of the defendant’s rights to a speedy trial and due process.”).
have consistently noted that Article 10 creates a more exacting speedy
demand than does the Sixth Amendment.
Rule for Courts-Martial 707
Rule for Courts-Martial 707 contains the speedy trial provision in the Rules for Courts-Martial. Rule for Courts-Martial 707(e) provides that “a plea of guilty which results in a finding of guilty waives any speedy trial issue as to that offense.” We have found, however, that the language of Article 10 is “clearly different” from R.C.M. 707 and have held that Article 10 is not restricted by R.C.M. 707. Cooper, 58 M.J. at 58-60 (holding that the protections of Article 10 extend beyond arraignment); Kossman, 38 M.J. at 261 (“[I]n the area of subconstitutional speedy trial, Article 10 reigns preeminent over anything propounded by the President.”).
The protections afforded confined or arrested servicemembers under Article 10 are distinct and greater given the nature of other speedy trial protections. See United States v. Reed, 41 M.J. 449, 451 (C.A.A.F. 1995) (listing sources for the right to a speedy trial in the military); United States v. Vogan, 35 M.J. 32, 33 (C.M.A. 1992) (also listing military speedy trial right sources). Rule for Courts-Martial 707(e) therefore does not act as a limitation on the rights afforded under Article 10.
Speedy Trial Act
Courts have uniformly held that a guilty plea “constitutes a waiver of [an accused’s] rights under the
We therefore find nothing in the comparisons to the Sixth Amendment, R.C.M. 707 or the Speedy Trial Act that would compel our application of their speedy trial waiver rules to Article 10. It falls to this court then to determine whether an unconditional guilty plea waives a litigated Article 10 speedy trial motion.
Article 10 Waiver Precedent
Over the years our cases have taken different views as to how or whether the right to a speedy trial under Article 10 could be waived. These divergent views have manifested themselves in cases involving forfeiture for failure to raise the issue at trial and as well as in cases considering waiver of the right due to an unconditional guilty plea. In an early case that considered Article 10 speedy trial rights, the court adopted the view that the right to a speedy trial could be forfeited for failing to raise the issue at trial:
The right to a speedy trial is a personal right which can be waived. If the accused does not demand a trial or does not object to the continuance of a case at the prosecution's request or if he goes to trial without making any objection to the lapse of time between the initiation of the charges and the trial, he cannot complain of the delay after he has been convicted.
7 C.M.A. at 6, 21 C.M.R. at 133 (citation omitted). A short time
later, however, Judge Quinn, the
author judge in Hounshell, wrote
with regard to speedy trial in another contested case that “[i]n
the military, application of the rule of waiver, where the accused is
has little to recommend it.”
Similarly, our cases involving waiver and unconditional guilty pleas have vacillated. In United States v. Rehorn, 9 C.M.A. 487, 488-89, 26 C.M.R. 267, 268-69 (1958), the court stated, “It is a fundamental principle of Federal criminal law that a plea of guilty waives all defects which are neither jurisdictional nor a deprivation of due process of law.” Subsequently in United States v. Schalck the court held “that delay in preferring charges against the accused was not waived by his failure to raise the issue at trial and by his plea of guilty.” 14 C.M.A. at 375, 34 C.M.R. at 155. See also United States v. Goode, 17 C.M.A. 584, 587, 38 C.M.R. 382, 385 (1968) (finding that guilty plea does not deprive accused of protection afforded by Article 10); United States v. Cummings, 17 C.M.A. 376, 381, 38 C.M.R. 174, 179 (1968)(finding that a waiver of the right to a speedy trial as part of a pretrial agreement is contrary to public policy); Tibbs, 15 C.M.A. at 353, 35 C.M.R. at 325 (reiterating that accused who pleads guilty does not lose protection accorded by Article 10).
A short time later, the court again changed direction on waiver in another case involving a guilty plea: “We answer in the affirmative the certified question . . . which asks whether ‘. . . an accused who does not object at the time of trial to a delay in excess of three months in bringing him to trial will be precluded from raising the issue at the appellate level . . . .’” United States v. Sloan, 22 C.M.A. 587, 590, 48 C.M.R. 211, 214 (1974) (citation omitted). Recently, in United States v. Birge, this court acknowledged the rule of waiver from Sloan but declined to address whether an Article 10 speedy trial claim was waived by a guilty plea under R.C.M. 707(e). 52 M.J. 209, 211-12 (C.A.A.F. 1999).
We take this opportunity to revisit our examination of whether an Article 10 claim is waived by an unconditional guilty plea or whether it may be reviewed by an appellate court in cases where the accused unsuccessfully raises an Article 10 issue at trial and then enters an unconditional guilty plea.6 In view of the legislative importance given to a speedy trial under the UCMJ and the unique nature of the protections of Article 10 discussed above, we believe that where an accused unsuccessfully raises an Article 10 issue and thereafter pleads guilty, waiver
not apply. Such a rule for Article 10
rights properly reflects the importance of a servicemember’s right to a
trial under Article 10. Preservation of
the right to appeal adverse Article 10 rulings is not only supported by
congressional intent behind Article 10, it also maintains the high
speedy disposition of charges against members of the armed forces and
recognizes “military procedure as the exemplar of prompt action in
trial those members of the armed forces charged with offenses.”
We therefore hold that a litigated speedy trial motion under Article 10 is not waived by a subsequent unconditional guilty plea. Thus, Mizgala’s unconditional guilty plea did not waive his right to contest the military judge’s denial of his Article 10 motion on appeal.8
Having concluded that Mizgala did not waive review of his Article 10 claim by entering an unconditional guilty plea, we proceed to the merits of that claim.
ARTICLE 10 SPEEDY TRIAL
The standard of
diligence under which we review claims of a denial of speedy trial
Article 10 “is not constant motion, but reasonable diligence in
charges to trial.” Tibbs, 15 C.M.A. at 353, 35 C.M.R. at 325.
See also Kossman,
38 M.J. at 262; United States v.
We review the decision of whether an accused has received a speedy trial de novo as a legal question, giving substantial deference to a military judge’s findings of fact that will be reversed only if they are clearly erroneous. Cooper, 58 M.J. at 57-59; United States v. Doty, 51 M.J. 464, 465 (C.A.A.F. 1999).
Facts Relevant to the Speedy Trial Determination
The parties stipulated at trial to a chronology of events relating to the pretrial processing of this case. Additional information was provided by testimony from the deputy staff judge advocate and the former chief of military justice at Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB). Ultimately, the military judge made findings of fact in support of his ruling on the speedy trial motion.
Mizgala was absent without leave (AWOL) on January 18 and 19, 2001. Upon his return to military control, he confessed to using cocaine while absent. He went AWOL again on February 5, and remained absent until February 28. This second absence ended because Mizgala became involved in an off-base incident concerning an attempt to steal beer. Upon his return, he confessed that he used both cocaine and marijuana during this absence.
Mizgala was placed in pretrial confinement on February 28 and a pretrial confinement hearing was conducted three days later on March 3. The hearing officer determined that continued pretrial confinement was warranted because Mizgala was a flight risk and likely to engage in additional misconduct.
importance in this case is that during the time that this case was
legal office at Sheppard AFB was operating out of a temporary facility
a fire had destroyed their facility. On
trial counsel requested the litigation packet pertaining to the
confinement urinalysis from the laboratory at
investigating officer was appointed under Article 32, UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. §
(2000), on May 22. He conducted the
on May 24 and completed the report of investigation the following day. The completed Article 32 investigation was
forwarded to the defense on May 29. The
record contains no indication that the defense made any objections or
comments on the report of investigation.
In the interim, a memorandum indicating that
On June 5, the
referral package and a related request for immunity were forwarded by
Sheppard AFB legal office to the staff judge advocate for the convening
authority. The R.C.M. 406 pretrial
was completed on June 20, and the case was referred to trial the
day. However, Mizgala was rapidly
the 120-day limit contained in R.C.M. 707 and because the Government
believe that he could be tried before then, they released him from
After considering the stipulated chronology of events, two witnesses, and arguments, the military judge denied the motion to dismiss for violation of Article 10. Although the military judge found “inefficiencies throughout this process,” he ultimately held:
As such, at least as it applies to this case, I find that the government has exercised reasonable diligence insofar as it has complied with R.C.M. 707 and as that equates to Article 10 in this particular circumstance. I do not believe that the inefficiencies mentioned equate to negligence that’s outlined in Kossman, and I believe that is a standard that effectively would have to amount to gross negligence. And I find that by a preponderance of the evidence.
When he later announced additional findings, the military judge adhered to his speedy trial ruling and reiterated that “I must essentially equate the R.C.M. standard with an Article 10 violation.” He further stated that gross negligence was required to support an Article 10 violation. Also, while the military judge’s ruling did reflect some consideration of the Barker factors, it did so in a manner that indicated that the military judge limited his consideration to a Sixth Amendment speedy trial analysis.
agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals that the military judge
in the manner in which he reviewed Mizgala’s Article 10 motion. His ruling was erroneous as a matter of law
in three regards. First, Article 10 and
R.C.M. 707 are distinct, each providing its own speedy trial protection. The fact that a prosecution meets the 120-day
rule of R.C.M. 707 does not directly “or indirectly” demonstrate that
Government moved to trial with reasonable diligence as required by
Second, the military judge erred in determining that he was required to find gross negligence to support an Article 10 violation in the absence of Government spite or bad faith. An Article 10 violation rests in the failure of the Government to proceed with reasonable diligence. A conclusion of unreasonable diligence may arise from a number of different causes and need not rise to the level of gross neglect to support a violation. Kossman, 38 M.J. at 261. Finally, the military judge erred by limiting his consideration of the Barker v. Wingo factors to a Sixth Amendment speedy trial analysis. We have held that “it is ‘appropriate’ to consider those factors ‘in determining whether a particular set of circumstances violates a servicemember’s speedy trial rights under Article 10.’” Cooper, 58 M.J. at 61 (quoting Birge, 52 M.J. at 212).
to the substance of Mizgala’s claim, our framework to determine whether
Government proceeded with reasonable diligence includes balancing the
four factors: (1) the length of the
delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) whether the appellant made a
for a speedy trial; and (4) prejudice to the appellant.
See Barker, 407
The processing of this case is not stellar. We share the military judge’s concern with several periods during which the Government seems to have been in a waiting posture: waiting for formal evidence prior to preferring charges and waiting for a release of jurisdiction for an offense that occurred in the civilian community. There are periods evidencing delay in seeking evidence of the off-post offense and seeking litigation packages to support prosecution of the drug offenses. Nevertheless, constant motion is not the standard so long as the processing reflects reasonable diligence under all the circumstances. Our evaluation must balance the delay against the reasons for these periods of delay (such as the need to investigate offenses and obtain evidence), with the need to coordinate investigation and jurisdiction with civilian authorities. Once these necessary steps were completed, the Government moved expeditiously to refer the charges.
As to the consideration of possible prejudice, we find no material prejudice to Mizgala’s substantial rights. In this regard, we note the test for prejudice set forth by the Supreme Court:
Prejudice, of course, should be assessed in the light of the interests of defendants which the speedy trial right was designed to protect. This Court has identified three such interests: (i) to prevent oppressive pretrial incarceration; (ii) to minimize anxiety and concern of the accused; and (iii) to limit the possibility that the defense will be impaired. Of these, the most serious is the last, because the inability of a defendant adequately to prepare his case skews the fairness of the entire system.
We hold that Mizgala was not denied his Article 10 right to a speedy trial and, after our de novo review of the speedy trial issue, we find there was no prejudice from the military judge’s application of an erroneous standard of law.
The decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.
1 Mizgala entered guilty pleas to attempted larceny, unauthorized absence, unauthorized absence terminated by apprehension, two specifications of wrongfully using cocaine, wrongfully using marijuana, larceny of a motor vehicle, and larceny of personal property in violation of Articles 80, 86, 112a, and 121, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U.S.C. §§ 880, 886, 912a, 921 (2000), respectively.
WHETHER APPELLANT’S ARTICLE 10, UCMJ, RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL WAS WAIVED BY AN UNCONDITIONAL GUILTY PLEA IF THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT BRING APPELLANT TO TRIAL WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE, TRIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL LITIGATED THE MATTER AT TRIAL, AND APPELLANT DID NOT AFFIRMATIVELY WAIVE HIS RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL.
WHETHER APPELLANT’S ARTICLE 10, UCMJ, RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL WAS VIOLATED IF THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT BRING APPELLANT TO TRIAL WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE.
Any person subject to this chapter, who (1) is responsible for unnecessary delay in the disposition of any case of a person accused of an offense under this chapter; or (2) knowingly and intentionally fails to enforce or comply with any provision of this chapter regulating the proceedings before, during, or after trial of an accused; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
6 The pivotal issue in this case involves the scope of the speedy trial right set forth in Article 10, UCMJ, and is an issue of statutory interpretation. Therefore, the discussion in the dissent regarding the application of the Bill of Rights to servicemembers is not pertinent to the present case.
9 Prior to referral of charges to a general court-martial, the staff judge advocate shall consider the charges and provide a written and signed advice to the convening authority. R.C.M. 406(a), (b). That advice shall include the staff judge advocate’s:
(1) Conclusion with respect to whether each specification alleges an offense under the code;
(2) Conclusion with respect to whether the allegation of each specification is warranted by the evidence indicated in the report of investigation (is there is such a report);
(3) Conclusion with respect to whether a court-martial would have jurisdiction over the accused and the offense; and
(4) Recommendation of the action to be taken by the convening authority.
CRAWFORD, Judge (dissenting in part and concurring in the result):
While the majority notes that Article 10, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U.S.C. § 810 (2000), is a “more exacting” right, it overlooks the history behind the UCMJ provisions of the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2002 ed.)(MCM), and mainstream jurisprudence in this area. Thus, I respectfully dissent from the majority opinion that an unconditional plea of guilty does not waive Appellant’s rights to a speedy trial whether asserted under the Sixth Amendment, the UCMJ, or the MCM. The congressional history underlying Article 10 has not altered what a majority of the courts have held concerning unconditional guilty pleas.
the UCMJ. When Congress passed the
in 1950, there was some question as to the applicability of the Bill of
to members of the Armed Forces. Fifty-five
years later, the Supreme Court still has never expressly held that the
Rights applies to servicemembers. In
in the Court’s history, when examining the question of speedy trial, it
“bottom[ed] those [constitutional] rights and privileges” on the Due
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than on the specific
the Bill of Rights.
right to counsel guaranteed under Article 27 was not applicable through
Bill of Rights to state proceedings until 1963.
It was not until that year, in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372
(1963), that the Supreme Court extended the right to appointment of
state cases to all indigent felony defendants.
Prior to that, Congress had ensured some right to counsel for
members by passing Article 27, but that right was limited to general
courts-martial. Congress extended this
right to special courts-martial in 1968.
Of course, it is not enough to have counsel; counsel must
represent the accused, starting with a full investigation of the case. See, e.g., House
v. Balkcom, 725 F.2d 608 (11th Cir. 1984).
The right to counsel is one of the most
valuable rights that a defendant possesses, but certain decisions are
defendant to control while the remainder are
counsel. The Supreme Court has
recognized that counsel has the authority to manage most aspects of the
without obtaining the defendant’s approval.
See, e.g., Nixon v. Florida,
125 S. Ct.
551 (2004). In New York v.
Hill, the Supreme Court stated: “[D]efense
counsel’s agreement to a trial date outside the time period required by
Interstate Agreement on Detainers] bars the defendant from seeking
because trial did not occur within that period.” 528
self-incrimination clause did not apply to military members, Congress
31 to protect the right against self-incrimination in the military
setting. Additionally, in enacting
Article 31(b), Congress was concerned that the interrogation
environment in the
military and the interplay between military relationships and following
deserved protection. See UCMJ
Hearings at 984-85. As this Court
stated, “[u]ndoubtedly it was the intent of Congress in this division
Article to secure to persons subject to the Code the same rights
those of the civilian community under the Fifth Amendment to the
of the United States -- no more and no less.”
Likewise, Congress enacted Article 44 because “the application of [the Fifth Amendment] is in doubt . . . . The matter could be clarified by extending the protection of the fifth amendment rather than granting protection by means of different or new statutory enactment.” Uniform Code of Military Justice: Hearings on § 857 and H.R. 4080 Before a Subcomm. of the Senate Comm. on Armed Services, 81st Cong. 111 (1949) (statement of Sen. Pat McCarran, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Comm.). House commentary on the UCMJ observed: “The question is whether the constitutional provision of jeopardy follows a person who enters military service.” H.R. Rep. 81-491 at 23.
to the double jeopardy provision, this Court reiterated the theme that
Constitution did not apply, stating, “The constitutional privilege
former jeopardy, applicable to the civilian community, is granted to
against military law by Article 44 . . . .”
the past, this Court applied a due process examination before it had
that the Bill of Rights applies “except those [rights] which are
by necessary implication inapplicable.”
The question of the application of the Fourth Amendment as to the right to privacy,6 the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment,7 speedy trial,8 or the right of confrontation cross-examination under the Sixth Amendment9 is moot based on congressional and presidential actions.
MCM Provision. The majority also overlooks R.C.M. 707(e), which states that: “Except as provided in R.C.M. 910(a)(2) [conditional pleas], a plea of guilty which results in a finding of guilty waives any speedy trial issue as to that offense.” (Emphasis added.) This provision by the President does not violate any constitutional provision -- there is certainly none prohibiting this waiver, and many federal courts provide for such a waiver.
Because the majority overlooks mainstream jurisprudence and the MCM provisions, I respectfully dissent.
1 10 U.S.C. § 827 (2000).