The New York Times reports here that Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, who refused to deploy due to unavailability of child care, will be discharged in lieu of court-martial.  We previously discussed the case here.  Fort Stewart’s press release about the case’s resolution is posted here, though I can’t get it to actually open.

9 Responses to “Non-deploying single mom to be discharged in lieu of court-martial”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This SILT is a gift to the Convening Authority. Avoid publicity, ditch the troublemaker, and get the OTH.

    What the hell was her counsel thinking.

  2. Some Army Guy says:

    Hutchinson granted administrative discharge
    FORT STEWART, Ga. – A request made by Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier, for an administrative discharge in lieu of trial by court martial has been granted here today. The Soldier will not be tried by court martial and therefore is not at risk of receiving a federal conviction. She is, however, reduced to the lowest enlisted rank, private, and subject to losing other military benefits from the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs to which Soldiers who serve honorably are entitled.
    In January 2010, Private Hutchinson was charged with various offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in connection with her failure to report to her unit on the date it was to deploy for combat operations overseas. All single Soldiers with dependent children are required to have a valid Family Care Plan to serve on active duty. Private Hutchinson, the mother of a young child, asserted she could not deploy with her unit because she had no one who could take proper care of her child. During its investigation of the case, the Army discovered evidence that differed significantly from Private Hutchinson’s explanation of events. The investigation revealed evidence, from both other Soldiers and from Private Hutchinson herself, that she didn’t intend to deploy to Afghanistan with her unit and deliberately sought ways out of the deployment.
    Of the thousands of Soldiers from Private Hutchinson’s unit who are currently serving in combat in Afghanistan, many are also single parents or “dual-military” parents. They have experienced similar challenges but have been able to overcome them so that they could deploy with their units. In fact, the command relayed to Private Hutchinson and her attorneys assistance from organizations which volunteered to help her find child care.
    Private Hutchinson’s case was thoroughly examined and resolved according to its own unique set of facts and circumstances. After doing so, and taking into account Private Hutchinson’s voluntary request, which contained an admission of guilt to an offense under the UCMJ, the Fort Stewart senior commander decided to administratively discharge Private Hutchinson from the Army.

  3. Some Army Guy says:

    Reading the NY Times, it still breaks your heart that this poor soldier went through so much for her child. The Army was only her “job.”

    And the information from the press release? One short sentence about what the Army “asserted,” while the rest of this sob story is reported as fact.

  4. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    This case is a more of a failure by the PR bubbas and the JAs that drafted the charge sheet than a prosecutorial discretion issue, as alluded to in my prior post on the case. This single sentence in the first press release would have ended the news cycle:

    The investigation revealed evidence, from both other Soldiers and from Private Hutchinson herself, that she didn’t intend to deploy to Afghanistan with her unit and deliberately sought ways out of the deployment.

    I think dealing with the media and public perception should be a part of every new lawyer course, or at least every staff judge advocate course.

  5. Atticus says:

    It’s so strange reading about media involvement in these cases. The Navy and Army get all the attention (for better or worse). Meanwhile, there are two death penalty rehearings going on in the Marine Corps and other than a initial blip in the Marine Corps Times, there has been zero news coverage of either.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The larger issue appears to be the soldier’s attorney now making statements concerning her client’s innocence when the Chapt 10 required some admission of guilt to a charge before submission (or at least did when I was a JAG).

  7. Bridget says:

    Anon 10:11-I am not so sure this is a “gift” to the CA. Many clients want nothing more than to get out and go home, no matter what we tell them the consequences will be. Bet this individual wanted to be home. I am not so willing to be critical of the MDC.

  8. Steve says:

    Chapter 10 seems like a fair result for all concerned. I concur with ‘No Man’ that every JA should get some PA training (perhaps it might have even saved me from some self-inficted near fatal wounds).

    However, I wonder if the CA may have welcomed the publicity. Seems like this case may have intentionally been handled with all thumbs. Surely deterrance works better when the NYT is publishing the results.

  9. Some Army Guy says:

    I agree that the government, especially the military, do a horrible job winning the PR battle on these cases. That’s partly attributable to the service’s regulations (based on the Privacy Act), rules of professional conduct, and the general conservatism of the services. This “risk-averseness” feeds on itself as each generation teaches the next.

    This needs to be fixed.