Case: United States v. Denedo

Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Issue: Whether a military appellate court has jurisdiction to entertain a petition to review a final court-martial conviction under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Background: Jacob Denedo enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1989. Nine years later he was busted for scamming a community college out of $28,000. Denedo's guilty plea before a court-martial resulted in a three month sentence and a bad-conduct discharge. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against the Nigerian native because of his crime. Denedo, now six years removed from the service, filed a motion with the military appellate courts seeking review of his case based on claims of ineffective counsel. Denedo contends his military and civilian lawyers assured him his guilty plea would not lead to his removal from the United States. The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that military courts do have authority to make such a review and directed one in this case. The Defense Department says the UCAA does not have jurisdiction to get back into the case and has appealed to the Supreme Court.