In a lengthy opinion in United States v. Hale, __ M.J. __, No. 201600015 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. May 31, 2017) (link to slip op.), a three-judge panel of the Navy-Marine Corps CCA reverses convictions of rape, violating a general order, adultery, indecent language, wrongful use of steroids, assault with a dangerous weapon, and kidnapping, and the sentence that included confinement for 26 years.

The reversal is because of a conflict of interest between the lead military defense counsel (a Marine captain, identified as Capt KC), her husband (another Marine captain, who was assigned as a trial counsel but not otherwise involved in the case, identified as Capt CC), and the prosecutor (a Marine lieutenant colonel, who was the regional trial counsel and supervised the husband, identified as LtCol CT). The defense team included a second Marine captain (identified as Capt JS) who “the appellant requested . . . as individual military counsel.” Slip op. at 3.

Judge Fulton writes for the panel (which includes Chief Judge Glaser-Allen), concluding:

The record convinces us that Capt KC’s representation was adversely affected by the conflict of interest. The conflicts presented in this case were obviously significant and upsetting to Capt KC. After Capt KC moved to dismiss the charges involving SK because of the GHQE’s text messages, LtCol CT—her prospective RO and her husband’s current RO—accused the defense of unethical conduct. LtCol CT called the possibility that defense counsel might be asking potential witnesses about evidence governed by MIL. R. EVID. 412 and 513 “gross and cruel.” All this caused Capt KC to audibly sob at counsel table, and she was unable to continue.

Slip op. at 22 (ellipses in original) (emphasis added). As a result:

The sepsis of undisclosed conflict in this case infects much of the record. Even the post-trial Article 39(a) session did not convincingly diagnose the full extent of the conflict or its prejudice. A member of the public fully informed of the facts of this appellant’s representation would not have faith in the process that led to these convictions. It is our judgment, based on the entire record, that the findings and the sentence in this court-martial should not be approved.

Slip op. at 28.

The relationship between the parties is somewhat convoluted:

Sometime after Capt KC began representing the appellant, but before the beginning of the trial on the merits, Capt KC’s husband, Capt CC, became a trial counsel within LtCol CT’s region and LtCol CT became Capt CC’s reviewing officer (RO) for fitness report purposes. Capt KC did not inform the appellant that her husband had become a trial counsel or that the lead prosecutor in his case had become her husband’s RO. At the time of the appellant’s trial, Capt KC anticipated that she herself would become a trial counsel within the region soon after the appellant’s trial. She did not disclose this fact to the appellant, either.

Slip op. at 3-4. Marine Corps defense counsel are administratively assigned to the Marine Corps Defense Services Organization (DSO) (disclosure: I am a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve currently assigned as the DSO’s Regional Training Officer for the National Capital Region). The DSO was created in 2011, in part as a response to the situation in United States v. Lee, 70 M.J. 535 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. 2011) (discussed here), where the military defense counsel was a subordinate of the prosecutor. The structure of the DSO is designed to insulate defense counsel like Captain KC, but Judge Fulton highlights a gap:

The potential conflict of interest lay in Capt KC’s personal circumstances. She anticipated becoming a trial counsel in LtCol CT’s region shortly after the trial. She was also married to a current trial counsel in the region, which meant that LtCol CT was her husband’s RO. Capt KC would have been wise to disclose these circumstances to the appellant and to the military judge. . . .

Unfortunately, that is not what happened. Instead, as the case wore on, the vulnerabilities in this arrangement were—perhaps unintentionally— exploited, and her representation was compromised. The facts that aggravated the potential conflicts and made them actual arose both before and during the trial, and both on and off the record. Individually, some of the facts we describe below would not be sufficiently troubling to make the potential conflicts in this case actual conflicts. But considering them collectively, it is our judgment that the defense in this case was laboring under an actual conflict of interest.

Slip op. at 16-17. The use of the word exploited in this context should give you a sense of the panel’s opinion about the interaction between these Marine officers.

The facts that collectively support the existence of a conflict of interest roughly fit into three categories: (1) the trial counsel was a bully who was either thin-skinned or feigned outrage for tactical reasons; (2) the trial counsel threatened defense counsel with the fact of her impending transfer to be his subordinate; and (3) fear (by the defense counsel and her husband) that the trial counsel would hold the defense counsel’s advocacy on behalf of the accused against her husband.

For the first category, Judge Fulton explains that:

LtCol CT made it clear that he took personal offense at trial defense counsel’s advocacy, and that he did not like the way defense counsel were trying the case. We expect that trial counsel do not normally take defense counsel’s tactics personally. In this case, LtCol CT did, and sometimes for no apparent reason.

Slip op. at 17. This included the trial counsel calling the defense counsel “unprofessional” for “express[ing] skepticism about the testimony of two civilian law enforcement officers who testified for the government” on a motion to suppress. Slip op. at 17.  It also included the trial counsel complaining that the defense counsel “impugn[ed] the integrity of a witness. . . . This is a pattern within the circuit that has happened in the past four weeks.” Slip op. at 17-18 (quoting LtCol CT). And:

During arguments, LtCol CT referred to some of Capt KC’s argument as “absurd” and, more troublingly, “disgusting.” He stated to the members that one of her theories of the case was an “affront” to him and the trial team.

Slip op. at 18. This kind of argument (maligning the defense and asserting personal knowledge) is prosecutorial misconduct, and Judge Fulton finds that it “tended to aggravate the potential conflicts of interest.” Slip op. at 18. Judge Fulton outlines additional comments, including off-the-record exchanges, that are similar to these on-the-record comments. Slip op. at 17-19.

For the second category, Judge Fulton explains that:

Capt KC visited LtCol CT’s temporary office in Anchorage shortly before trial to discuss the government’s exhibits and witnesses. She told LtCol CT that she would be objecting to some of his evidence and requiring him to lay a foundation for a photographic lineup of the appellant. LtCol CT thought this was not an appropriate approach. In the context of this discussion, LtCol CT told Capt KC, “Remember, you’re coming back to the government sometime,” or words to that effect.

Slip op. at 19 (emphasis added). Nothing in the opinion indicates that this was intended by LtCol CT to be in jest.

For the third category, Judge Fulton explains that:

[after the back to the government comment] Capt KC had a phone conversation with her husband. She told him that she was considering raising prosecutorial misconduct against the GHQE [Government Highly Qualified Expert] and LtCol CT. During this conversation, Capt CC told Capt KC that “if she raised the issue I would probably have to ask that someone other than [LtCol CT] serve as my RO.” Capt CC did not want to take this step. Capt CC stated in his affidavit that he was in a “difficult position” because “bringing the issue up would amount to saying that [LtCol CT] did not have the ability to rank me appropriately based on the poor relationship between him and my wife.” In other words, Capt KC’s husband, who was LtCol CT’s subordinate for evaluation purposes, discussed with Capt KC the negative ramifications to him of a motion Capt KC might have filed on the appellant’s behalf.

Slip op. at 20-21. Judge Fulton finds that this concern for the career of the defense counsel’s husband “weighs heavily in favor of finding an actual conflict of interest between Capt KC and the appellant.” Slip op. at 20.

Having found an actual conflict, Judge Fulton turns to prejudice. At the beginning of the opinion he concludes that the appropriate standard is not the heavy burden of Strickland where an appellant must prove both that his counsel’s performance was deficient and that the deficiency resulted in prejudice. United States v. Green, 68 M.J. 360, 361 (C.A.A.F.) (citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)). Rather, the prejudice here is presumed:

We hold that where an appellant demonstrates that his counsel labored under an actual conflict of interest, and where the conflict had an adverse effect on the counsel’s performance, the appellant is entitled to a presumption of prejudice.

Slip op. at 13 (emphasis added). Actually getting this presumption, however, requires showing more than just a conflict:

In addition to an actual conflict, an appellant must also show that the conflict of interest adversely affected counsel’s performance. This means that an “actual lapse in representation” resulted from the conflict.

Slip op. at 14 (quoting Winkler v. Keane, 7 F.3d 304, 309, (2d Cir. 1993) (quoting Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 336 (1980))) (other citation omitted).

Judge Fulton finds an actual lapse:

The record convinces us that Capt KC’s representation was adversely affected by the conflict of interest. The conflicts presented in this case were obviously significant and upsetting to Capt KC. After Capt KC moved to dismiss the charges involving SK because of the GHQE’s text messages, LtCol CT—her prospective RO and her husband’s current RO—accused the defense of unethical conduct. LtCol CT called the possibility that defense counsel might be asking potential witnesses about evidence governed by MIL. R. EVID. 412 and 513 “gross and cruel.” All this caused Capt KC to audibly sob at counsel table, and she was unable to continue.

Capt KC made several decisions about the appellant’s representation that were against her client’s interest, against the advice of the DHQE, and consistent with a concern for her and her husband’s situation. The DHQE testified that she and Capt JS had urged Capt KC to make LtCol CT’s remark about “coming back to the government” the subject of a motion. She told Capt KC that LtCol CT should be removed from the case. Capt KC refused to raise the issue, and ultimately Capt JS acceded to this decision. According to the DHQE, Capt KC’s reason was that filing such a motion would be inconsistent with the way things were done in the Marine Corps, and that it would cause problems.

Slip op. at 22 (emphases added).

I think this conclusion creates more questions than it answers. For example, why didn’t the second defense counsel (Capt JS) independently move to disqualify the trial counsel? Or take over as lead counsel when Capt KC was “unable to continue” when she began “to audibly sob” at counsel table? Slip op at 23. After all, the appellant specifically requested Capt JS as his defense counsel. Furthermore, why wasn’t sobbing in court (seemingly just because the trial counsel said some mean things) an enormous red flag to the other counsel, the military judge, and the DSO leadership? And why didn’t Capt KC trust her superiors enough to disclose her and her husband’s concerns?

Also, if a motion to disqualify the trial counsel is inconsistent with the way things are done in the Marine Corps, then just how are things done?

It’s some consolation that this issue was discovered and explored post-trial, but that raises additional concerns:

Many of the facts necessary to reach this conclusion were developed in a post-trial Article 39(a) session ordered by the convening authority. The appellant hired civilian counsel for this session, and his two uniformed trial defense counsel, the DHQE, and LtCol CT were among the witnesses. The post-trial Article 39(a) session developed evidence on the conflict of interest, but it did not produce an explicit finding of fact on this issue. The military judge made one finding of fact during the post-trial 39(a) hearing—that LtCol CT had in fact reminded Capt KC that she was coming back to be a trial counsel. The military judge found all of the witnesses credible, with the exception of Capt JS, whose testimony is not significant to our determination here. We also note that at the time of the Article 39(a) session, Capt KC had apparently still not revealed, and did not reveal at the hearing, that she and her husband had discussed her consideration of a prosecutorial misconduct motion against LtCol CT and the professional ramifications of such a motion on her husband.

Slip op. at 21 (emphases added). So the lead defense counsel withheld information, and the second defense counsel was found to be not credible.

Judge Fulton focuses on Capt KC’s conflict of interest, but I think his opinion outlines a much deeper problem.

Ultimately, however, the convictions are reversed because:

the defense team was personally and professionally assailed by trial counsel—both on the record and off, and sometimes for utterly unremarkable defense advocacy.

Slip op. at 28. Such a broad and baseless attack on junior officers by an experienced and high-ranking practitioner seems wholly improper under any circumstances.

The CCA authorizes a rehearing.

40 Responses to “The NMCCA reverses a GCM due to a “sepsis of undisclosed conflict [of interest]” involving a Marine defense counsel, her Marine trial counsel husband, and the husband’s Marine superior (who prosecuted the case)”

  1. J.M. says:

    Is there any realistic chance of a ethics complaint or disciplinary action against ‘LTC CT’? (why they hide the name, I don’t know, it took 5 minutes to figure out who he was). Also the gov and defense briefs are here http://www.jag.navy.mil/courts/briefs.htm

  2. Defender82 says:

    Initially, let’s talk inside baseball.  LtCol CT, Capt KC, and Capt JS have all left the Marine Corps.  As has the 39a MJ.  
    As a very informed outside observer, I do think there are some system errors to be addressed, and doubtless we in the DSO will be training  on them. But the largest take away is for detailed counsel to lean in to defend their client no matter how pernicious rank structure is in the military– no matter the career costs.  Because very little is worth reading a decision like this about yourself.
    That being said I have had personal communication with both and they are relieved that the NMCCA made the right decision, despite the personal and professional costs. LtCol CT is now a federal prosecutor  
    Kate Coyne, HQE

  3. Undisclosed says:

    Unbelievable, and yet not surprising in the military system. Perhaps a complaint should be filed against the TJAG because the attorneys’ he or she supervises cannot remember basic ethics. 

  4. Isaac Kennen says:

     

    LtCol CT is now a federal prosecutor 

     
    Things might become uncomfortable for now-AUSA, former-Lt Col, CT if if this case gets before CAAF.  Seeing as not so long ago Judge Ohlson’s job before putting on a robe was Chief of the DOJ’s Professional Misconduct Review Unit.  

  5. Alfonso Decimo says:

    “Be careful; you’re coming back to the government soon.” That sounds familiar.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Some things to add.  The 39a was ordered by the convening authority due to an affidavit submitted by Capt J.S., outlining the government’s misconduct during the trial.  At the hearing Capt C.C. was present and the government objected to him testifying based on relevance, which is why his affidavit was submitted. Additionally, the government had witnesses on standby to testify that Capts K.C. and C.C. were untruthful and that LtCol C.T. was truthful and had great military character.  Following the trial and the reporting of the government’s misconduct, both Capts K.C. and J.S. were pulled from litigation billets and made VLCs while the LtCol C.T. abruptly retired and the GHQE resigned.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I point out the objection and the character witnesses because the government’s 39a strategy was to attack and discredit as opposed to laying out the truth.  Ultimately the MJ blocked most of these efforts.

  8. k fischer says:

    “Be careful; you’re coming back to the government soon.” That sounds familiar.
     

    That statement would have compelled me to file the motion for prosecutorial misconduct for the same reason Will Hunting chose the wrench over the belt or the stick his foster father laid on the kitchen table. 

  9. stewie says:

    That entire gov shop clearly had no shame.

  10. DCGoneGalt says:

    I don’t usually check out NMCCA opinions but this was a good read.  I am happy to see the Lt Col is now a AUSA.  Good to see him land on his feet.  I love stories that have good endings.
     
    I honestly think the Army and Air Force Court of Appeals would have relied on Strickland and found no prejudice and let the trial result stand.  [And, not kidding, then not hinted at there being professional misconduct and not notified state bar authorities.  And promoted all involved.  And moved them to senior litigation or appellate positions.] 

  11. Zachary D Spilman says:

    What about personal awards, DCGoneGalt?

  12. Dave Roberts says:

    I worked for and with LtCol CT, practiced before him when he was on the bench, and have long admired him.  These facts having been been determined by a court of record, though, he must be held accountable by professional sanction.  Such ethical lapses by a senior prosecutor — especially one so experienced in military justice and respected by his peers and subordinates — serve to undermine confidence in the system even more than commanders’ attempts to influence proceedings.  Now, as direct result of his wanton, reckless, utterly stupid behavior, a violent criminal conviction and corresponding sentence are overturned.  If that isn’t dereliction, I don’t know what is.

  13. Shocked says:

    Did Defender82 really post the DC’s name?  Why is that necessary to do so when the Court did not?  Despicable.

  14. Zachary D Spilman says:

    No. Kate Coyne is the Marine Corps DSO highly qualified expert on the west coast. Same initials as the defense counsel but not the same person

  15. Vulture says:

    For the Convening Authority to send it back for the 39A, you have to admire that.  I wonder what the SJA said.  Probably “Covfefe.”

  16. stewie says:

    I’d argue all counsel’s names should be published instead of initials.

  17. Capt says:

    Interesting legal ethics question…  For those that know the Senior Trial Counsel’s name and state of licensure, there’s a good argument that Rule 8.3 applies and requires reporting of LtCol C.T.’s conduct to his bar.  The rule reads in relevant part, “A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.”

  18. Defender82 says:

    No, Defender82 did not publish the names of any parties referred to by initials in the opinion except her own on the signature line.
    Signed,
    Kate Coyne, HQE

  19. anonymous2 says:

    The court also reversed pursuant to Article 66.  I’m a little rusty in my UCMJ, but doesn’t this mean that jeopardy has attached and there can’t be a rehearing? 

  20. Zachary D Spilman says:

    No. That’s only if the reversal is for insufficiency of the evidence.

  21. Alfonso Decimo says:

    As many of you remember, in the 1990s, it was completely normal and unremarkable for DON defense counsel to have the same RO as trial counsel. It was also common to complete a trial as DC, then begin work the next day on a new case as TC (and I think it still is common). There was/is no inherent conflict of interest in those situations. However, a non-inherent conflict is like a combustible pile of sticks. In this somewhat analogous situation, it was really the TC’s misconduct that was the flame to set it off. The NMCCA got this one right.

  22. stewie says:

    I totally disagree. There absolutely IS an inherent conflict of interest in those situations. It’s why what was “normal and unremarkable” then is no longer normal and unremarkable now.
     
    Yes, DC do move on to a TC job afterwards, and that in and of itself is not a problem. Usually, it involves a different jurisdiction, at least in the Army it does. But complete separation in all respects between DC and TC is the only way to go.

  23. Alfonso Decimo says:

    Ron Burgundy: Agree to disagree.

  24. stewie says:

    Milk was a bad choice.

  25. K FISCHER says:

    Gentlemen,
     
     
    You are both correct.
     
     
    “We recognize that the provisions that preserve judicial independence in the military justice system are not foolproof. No such provisions could be. Inherent in any system of justice that includes measures to hold a judge accountable for his professional conduct is the possibility that those measures may be misused to subvert the judge’s independence. The military justice system is no exception. However, our analysis of those measures convinces us that this possibility is minimal. We find that there are adequate assurances that the JAG’s preparation of fitness reports for military appellate judges does not subvert judicial independence and, in particular, that this appellant has not been denied his right to have his appeal heard by an independent judicial body.”
    U.S. v. Mitchell, 37 M.J. 903, 915 (N-M.C.M.R. 1993), aff’d, 39 M.J. 131 (C.M.A. 1994)

     

  26. Matt J says:

    Does anybody know what happens next regarding bar licenses?  My understanding is that this is essentially a finding of ineffective assistance of counsel for the defense, which will require notification to her bar.  However, by avoiding the issue of prosecutorial misconduct, there will not be such a requirement for the TC.  Is this accurate?  It seems rather unfair that he can act the way he did and not have any repercussions.

  27. (Former)ArmyTC says:

    Matt J, It would entirely depend on the licensing state.

  28. stewie says:

    Matt, nothing is stopping anyone from reporting this to the TC’s state bar. You could do it right now if you wanted to.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Wish I were surprised.  I was a prosecuting attorney in the region at the time of this case.  Following the conviction and the reporting of the misconduct by the defense counsel via affidavit to the MJ, I can personally tell you that LtCol C.T. decided to double down.  During our regional training, he stood up with the GHQE and talked about how “disgusting” it was that Capt J.S. submitted the affidavit describing the government’s misconduct.  Also, senior prosecutors in the region used to refer to the GHQE as “the victim whisperer” because, not joke, she would, “get victims to say things they had never said before.”  This was an actual compliment from senior prosecutors.  Most toxic organization I have ever been a part of.

  30. Vulture says:

    It is around here somewhere, but a posting about reform mentioned that prosecutor’s offices would adopt the same standards as those of government prosecutor’s offices under Title 18.  I looked for it under the Blog Categories but couldn’t find it.  This was maybe 6 months ago.  Does anyone remember this?  It looks like story is right on point for what the change was for.

  31. Philip D Cave says:

    It was a recommendation of the Effron Military Justice Review Group, which many of us support.
    http://ogc.osd.mil/images/report_part1.pdf
     
    Major Legislative Proposals This Report contains the MJRG’s completed review of the UCMJ. Proposals for amendments to the UCMJ generally fall into seven categories. This Report’s major proposals would: • Strengthen the Structure of the Military Justice System by— o Requiring issuance of guidance on the disposition of criminal cases similar to the U.S. Attorneys Manual, tailored to military needs.
     
    • Disposition considerations. Second, this Report proposes to clarify the distinction between the minimum legal requirements for referral of a case to trial by courtmartial under Article 34 (Advice of staff judge advocate and reference for trial) and the separate, prudential issues involving the exercise of disposition discretion by military commanders and convening authorities. This includes a proposal to establish Article 33 (Disposition guidance), which would require the President to direct the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to issue non-binding guidance regarding factors that commanders, convening authorities, staff judge advocates and judge advocates should take into account when exercising their duties with respect to disposition of charges in the interest of justice and discipline. These considerations would take into account the guidance in the Principles of Federal Prosecution in the United States Attorneys Manual, with appropriate modifications to reflect the unique purposes and aspects of military law. This non-binding guidance, a proposed draft of which will be offered in Part II of this Report, would provide a functional decision-making framework for convening authorities, commanders, staff judge advocates and judge advocates to assess the full range of disposition options for alleged offenses under the Code, recognizing that the disposition decision encompasses many issues beyond the legal and factual sufficiency of a particular case. 
    Chapter 9. USAM https://www.justice.gov/usam/title-9-criminal.  It’s a useful reference already when writing some motions which require a discussion of prosecution discretion, for example.
     

  32. Vulture says:

    Thank you Phil Cave.  Something is up with the link BTW.  Reading the material from the Heritage Foundation and the other related stories about Sewell, Stellato, and now Hale, its clear that practicing JAGs have been gritting their teeth waiting for something like this to happen, or at least come out into the light.  Nobody wants to see it, not that they bury their heads in the sand, but a cure remains elusive and people are wary of the outcome.  But how do you tell a bunch of higher up political brass that the problem needs to be fixed?  The Major’s point is straight up the truth, you don’t want to be reading about yourself this way.  So whatever they said to that CA probably needs to be looked at closely for what to say in the future.

  33. Ed says:

    Why doesn’t someone identify this LTC. I don’t have the ability to figure it out in five minutes but would like to know who committed these unethical acts. If he is licensed in a jurisdiction I am admitted I would consider grieving him before the state bar. A broader question is why the MJ was not much more concerned when a Marine Officer was sobbing.

  34. Isaac Kennen says:

    The Court of Criminal Appeals published SSgt Hale’s name in its opinion. The word “Hale” is repeated 28 times in the Court’s decision. The Court published his name in this opinion, and put it up on the internet for all to see, even though, if the Court’s decision is given effect, SSgt Hale has regained the presumption of innocence.Contrast that with how the Court has treated the judge advocates (prosecution and defense) who denied SSgt Hale a fair trial: They have been spared of the indignity of having their names associated with their conduct. Instead, their identities have been reduced to abbreviations, as if they were children.
    One might wonder whether those judge advocates would have been named if this decision had been issued by a Court which was not itself staffed entirely by judge advocates. 

  35. Philip D Cave says:

    Odd.
     
    Try starting here.   http://ogc.osd.mil/mjrg.html

  36. Vulture says:

    I see where you are coming from Isaac Kennen and it is one of the reasons that the importance of the Arraignment sticks well with me.  All that sin qua non stuff is part of the protections of process that it is supposed to provide to the Accused.  Take Carter (next post) for instance: his “information” is read into the record, jeopardy attaches and I have no problem that a defective case failed.  Same with Hale, by the fact that his “information” was read into the record his ordeal should be over now.  It’s just a trade off that comes to us because in 17th century Courts were so bad.

  37. J.M. says:

    @Vulture,
    The cure is not elusive, nobody wants to do it. Relief for cause, Art 32 into conduct unbecoming, bar complaints. Nowhere else in the military is any other branch protected, and sometimes promoted, when words like misconduct get put in writing. You can’t go back and change OERs, but you can put a GOMOR in their file. Same for any commander that commits UCI. 
    Enlisted are better informed and the internet has made access to information much easier then 15-20 years ago. We’re watching and we see what happens. We know that UCI happens. We know that CID half-asses investigations. We know that Some prosacutors cross the line. I’ve been the recipient and I’ve seen it done to others. “Where is Smith? Where’s my rapist?” (Said by a 1SG at a company formation in regards to a Soldier pending a court martial. His conviction was thrown out at a 39A due to Brady material being withheld. He was moved form the brig to the replacement barracks and left for 4 days with no money, no ID and no meal card). “You’re a rapist and a predator and I’m going to crush you” (said to me by my company commander AFTER my charges were dropped. BTW he took over as my commander after everything had happened except my clearance was still being resolved and admitted that he never saw any of the case except the sheet dismissing the charges. He also had the notes from my behavioral health visits and used that against me. The DR that broke HIPPA is still working for the Army). “If you get accused of sexual assault, we’re going to court martial you and send you to prison. We don’t fuck around.” (said by a LTC during a Squadron formation during Denim Day activities). The 1SG is now a Sergeant Major. That Captain is a Major. The LTC made full bird. The prosecutor in this case was able to retire with full benefits and got a fed prosecutors job. He should be teaching ambulance chasing 101 for a diploma mill.  

  38. DCGoneGalt says:

    Don’t knock teaching ambulance chasing at a diploma mill.  It’s my retirement dream job.

  39. Vulture says:

    No doubt about it J.M. I’ve seen the same kind of thing you are talking about.  Where’s my rapist, or something similar.  Check.  Promotion and advancement of shady T.C.?  Yep.  Pitched freakin Government misconduct in a 32.  Uh-huh.
     
    But I’ve asked it before: Is congressional attention to this “epidemic” just their living up to the promise they made back in 2003 not to let service members fall through the cracks they way they did at the end of the Vietnam war?  Maybe this “epidemic” is a hoax.  Probably not completely.  2003-05 Fort Bragg, according to the Center for Disease Control had an epidemic of family violence.  See Hidden Casualties: An Epidemic of Domestic Violence When Troops Return from War.  By Jon Elliston and Catherine Lutz.
     
    But depleting the protections afforded the Accused is not a cure.  Hog tying the Defense isn’t a cure.  Accusing people and hiding evidence of innocence is “Take him back behind the chemical shed” kind of bad.  I’ve seen a prosecutor’s office display a picture of SJA staff wearing the local private confinement facility prisoner uniforms.  In it they are making faces and posturing like clowns at a frat party or drinking party.  All the five year studies in the world aren’t going to fix that.
     
    But most people recognize that pinning down standards of conduct are not so easy.  In 1919 the New York Times posted a story about WWI veterans called “Perhaps They Exaggerate” of their complaints of the Articles of War.  See a book called Military Justice and the Right to Counsel.  Fast forward to 2010.  Now the NYT is reporting that no, they aren’t exaggerating.   On the Defense side DC are plucking the check blocks of the OTJAG approved TDS SOP and on the Government side they have Military Judges powdering their asses.   I’m one of the guys that thinks that removing the Commander from the process was a mistake and applaud the CA in this case for sending it back for a hearing.  But correction in the kind of things we are talking about has been elusive.  It has been for a while.
     
     

  40. Query says:

    What is the purpose of protecting the Jag team, victim, 1st ex-wife’s name but not the 2nd ex-wife’s name? Why does it look like there isn’t any real consistency in protecting privacy?