Sex Assault Cases and Motive to Lie (Generally)

In a prior blog post, we discussed the all-important questions your court martial defense lawyer must answer in any trial - the "Why?" Essential, people do not lie unless they have sufficient motive to do so. Even if psychologically not a valid observation, members are still hard-pressed to accept that a witness lied under oath unless a viable motive is presented. The pathological liar is a rare creature, and you will need expert testimony to support it. There are many reasons for a purported sexual assault victim to lie. To get to the reason for a "victim" to lie, the military defense attorney needs to do his own investigation into the victim and often think outside the box. That being said, there are some standard motives that we like to keep in the playbook for sexual assault, rape or other Article 120 UCMJ cases.

If the victim is married or has a boy/girlfriend or significant other, including a same-sex lover, the motive could be:

  • Infidelity
  • A pregnancy
  • An STD
  • An injury (bruise)
  • Where she was "that night"

Sometimes, the victim might dislike the accused and may be using a false report to get even (retribution or retaliation). In such cases, your military defense lawyer should consider past relationships between the PV and the accused, both sexual and non-sexual. In these types of cases, your military defense lawyer must know all the facts surrounding the relationship between you and the PV. Do not hold back and try to bs your court martial defense lawyer as it will often only hurt you in the end. Tell your military attorney if you might have done something to the PV to make him/her want to get even or exact revenge, as this can often be turned into a motive to lie.

Court Martial Defense

If your military defense lawyer cannot come with the motive and the "Why?" at your trial, you are going to be facing a very uphill battle when it comes to convincing a panel to find you not guilty.


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