Recently, the NMCCA decided United States v. Flores-Rivas, a case concerning proper acceptance of a guilty plea.
Appellant pled guilty to downloading, possessing, and distributing child pornography. On appeal, the NMCCA considered whether the military judge abused his discretion in accepting Appellant’s plea in regards to distribution. In a unanimous opinion, the NMCCA affirmed the plea. 
I. Appellant’s Guilty Plea Was Properly Accepted
Appellant claimed that he was not guilty of knowingly distributing child pornography, and therefore, could not properly accept the plea. However, since Appellant stipulated to the knowledge requirement, the NMCCA found that there was no substantial basis in law or fact to question the plea.
II. Appellant Had The Required Mens Rea
Although Appellant claimed that he did not “knowingly” distribute child pornography he (1) kept the pornography in a peer file-sharing network; and (2) had knowledge of the software’s sharing capabilities and functions. As a result, the Court dismissed Appellant’s argument.
III.There Was a Factual Basis for Appellant’s Plea And The Military Judge Rightfully Accepted It
Although Appellant claimed that he was not guilty of knowingly distributing the child pornography (1) he stipulated to the knowing distribution in his plea; and (2) he accepted the plea after the judge explained the term “knowledge” and he consulted with this attorney. Accordingly, the Court found that there were enough facts to establish his guilt.
 Judge Gerrity authored the majority opinion, which was joined by Judges Stephens and Lawrence.
James Taglienti & Luke Alter
Senior Intern & Intern
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Joint R. App. Pro.
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