The Walter Reed Army Medical Center has issued this statement, posted here on TPM, concerning the forwarding of charges in LTC Lakin’s case now that the defense has waived the Article 32 investigation:

LTC Lakin waived his Article 32 hearing on 4 June 2010.  Once the Article 32 was waived, the charges were forwarded by Walter Reed commanding general with a recommendation as to disposition to MG Horst, the Military District of Washington Commander, on 8 June 2010. It is now up to MG Horst, to determine if the case will go to court-martial and the level of court-martial. MG Horst could also decide that some other disposition is more appropriate than court-martial.  MG Horst is the General Court-Martial Convening Authority for Soldiers assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

h/t Phil Cave’s Court-Martial Trial Practice blog

37 Responses to “Walter Reed Army Medical Center forwards LTC Lakin’s charges to the Commander, Military District of Washington for disposition”

  1. inappropriate quotations says:

    “I say bring it on.”

  2. Christopher Mathews says:

    I’ll take “Famous Last Words” for $1000, Alex.

  3. DC Steve says:

    I’m sorry, that was not in the form of a question. The correct answer is “what is ‘I say bring it on.'”

  4. Lee Marsh says:

    Okay, I’m dying for Blazier to come out. Lack of good case discussion is killing the site… :)

  5. soonergrunt says:

    Well, I’m sure we’re only a couple of minutes away from a flurry of posts about how “Obama’s military lawyers are denying this patriotic American Soldier ™ HIS DAY IN COURT!!1!11!ELEVENTY-ONE!” and how there is no doubt some precedence for Lakin’s behavior in military law and you lawyer types are supposed to overlook the fact that the precedence comes from a story from a Star Wars universe paperback novel.

  6. Anonymous says:

    IF this case is even referred I do not see LTC Lakin receiving a harsh sentence.

  7. nutz says:

    I think all the haters on this website will be in for a big surprise at the outcome of this case. The underlying legal issue seems to keep whizzing right past them.

  8. milspec says:

    IANAL but I will predict 18 months and FF. He is not going to be hung, but in many states a Dr will lose their license with a felony conviction. Would you think that’s not harsh?

  9. Brian the dog says:

    If it is referred?!? IF IT IS REFERRED!?!

    As small as it was, LTC Lakin’s only chance of getting the charges dismissed pre-trial was by making his case at the Article 32. Ooops.

    And, my guess, the two-star general who overseas the Old Guard, Arlington Cemetary, and the guards who stand watch over the tomb of the unknown Soldiers, is unlikely to either sanction, or encourage this misconduct.

    Do you think he wants all birthers and shirkers coming out of the woodwork?

    Perhaps more importantly, if he does not refer the charges, what happens then…does LTC Lakin get on the plane to OEF? Or, when this goes to a court, I am sure it will weigh on the sentencing authority that if he is not dismissed, he is likely to continue disobeying orders (until his president meets his demands).

    How could it not be referred. How could he, in a continious state of disobediance and insubordination, not be kicked?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Brian, MG Horst makes the decision to refer. To my knowledge he has not made this decision yet. Do you have information that he has already referred the case to trial? So, IF MG Horst decides to refer the resulting sentence, if LTC Lakin is found guilty, will most likely not be very severe.

  11. Brian the dog says:

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “severe.”

    I would agree that a lengthy jail sentence is unlikely (no jail is a real possibility). However, if you are LTC Lakin, the punishment that you fear is the punitive discharge (called a “dismissal”, officers can’t get dishonorable discharges). A punitive discharge takes away the possibility of him retiring, and strips him of almost all VA benefits. This is also why the decisions he has made can be so saddening.

    The reason I believe a discharge is likely, is that LTC Lakin did not announce his intention to obey a specific order. In his opinion, all orders are invalid. Under his logic, and his stated intent, there is every reason to suspect that he will continue to disobey orders in the future. If he was not given a punitive discharge, how long would it be until he violated the next order?

    I would bet my life savings that this case will be referred to a General Court Martial. And after winning that bet, I would take double or nothing that his discovery requests will be denied, and that he will be convicted. Admittedly, the possible sentence is more of an open question – But, if I was the LTC, I would start looking for a new job soon.

    As to when the case will be referred, I have no idea – but the question is when – not IF. I would normally guess referral would be at the next CG appointment, but MDW may not have a panel full of O6s ready yet.

  12. John O'Connor says:

    I think I could get members pretty riled up on sentencing, talking about all the officers, indeed all the doctors, who left family behind and went to war (and some of whom didn’t return). Members will go for the argument that officers follow orders and do not disobey orders based on an argument that has bween repeatedly rejected by courts.

  13. Phil Cave says:

    Further aggravation under R.C.M. 1001 would be all of his public statements made while in uniform. This would seem to be service discrediting behavior that aggravates the misconduct. That he repeatedly refused specific orders another aggravating factor. That he would counseled and given every opportunity to comply is another aggravating factor. That he may call Mr. Keyes and MG Valhalla another aggravating factor. And finally, so far at least, not an ounce of remorse (IMHO).

  14. Anonymous says:

    And you KNOW he is going to go members and not judge alone.

    And those members are all going to be O-6s.

    And they will be ready to spit bullets.

  15. soonergrunt says:

    @nutz, 1933hrs;
    Move your foot over a little more to the right, and pull the trigger again. You didn’t quite blow the whole thing off that time. I mean, you’re freaking kidding, right?

  16. Phil Cave says:

    Actually I think his “as yet undisclosed strategy” to quote WND, is to get a panel of O-6’s and O-5’s senior in date of rank to him, with the idea that a large number of them are undisclosed birthers and so won’t give him any punishment. If only the rest of the Army officer corps could have his integrity and come out and say what they really think about the President’s authority.

    In the end though it seems to me he gets credit for his prior 18 years of service: Dismissal, 30 months, TF, and a $50,000.00 fine.

  17. Bridget says:

    The better for limiting military court martyrdom, a sub-juridictional sentence, 5 months, $50K, and then a BOI and a boot.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think all the haters on this website will be in for a big surprise at the outcome of this case.The underlying legal issue seems to keep whizzing right past them.

    The brilliance in this post is staggering. STAGGERING!*

    *Note: The word crazy has been replaced by the word brilliance in this post.

  19. soonergrunt says:

    Which of you experienced military lawyers don’t understand the underlying legal issues?
    Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? Sheesh.

  20. Phil Cave says:

    You mean us galactically stupid ones?

  21. John O'Connor says:

    I’ll confess, I don’t understand the underlying legal issue (or even know what it is).

  22. soonergrunt says:

    That’s because you’re not insane.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know how many years of service the good LTC has?

  24. Bridget says:

    Because there really isn’t one, J O’C.

  25. Bridget says:

    No, that is not completely correct, for those visitors yet to encounter the galactically clear case law, US v Huet-Vaughn, 43 M.J. 105 (1995) and US v New, 55 M.J 95 (2001) lay out pretty well why LTC Lakin won’t get to argue about the President. Suppose he might be able to argue in mitigation. Soonergrunt we won’t hold that name against you (aka Huskergal)

  26. soonergrunt says:

    He has 18 years of service, I believe.

  27. DC Steve says:

    Ok, so I’m going to try to comment on the Lakin case, AND mention a military justice issue. Wish me luck!

    Just found an interview on “The post and Email” blog (link below), from 19 April where Margaret Calhoun Hemenway claims to be LTC Lakin’s spokesman. Are her statements admissible as an admission by LTC Lakin under MRE 801(d)(2): which allows statements “by a person authorized by the party to make a statement concerning the subject”? (ignore foundation issues).

    Interesting quotes:
    MRS. RONDEAU: How could they do what they’re doing and take the orders that are coming down the chain of command if the very top of that chain is in question?

    MRS. HEMENWAY: Other officers have resisted deployment orders, but Lakin’s case was a bit different because he was going to refuse all orders…[later in the interview she says he is working at Walter Reed, but not with patients, and that the Army “quarantined him so there wouldn’t be more converts” – so much for all orders being invalid).

  28. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Maybe Phil has something. Maybe Lakin’s lawyer is the modern day Joanne Galloway and he thinks he can just get officers on the stand to admit he is right and shouldn’t follow orders. It would go like this:

    Counsel: General Casey, isn’t it true that you have talked to the President and he admitted he was born in Tasmania and you are improperly requiring your subordinates to follow his orders?

    General Casey: Why . . .

    Trial Counsel: eeehhhhh! Time’s up! What do we have for the losers, judge?

    Military Judge; Well, for our defendant, it’s a life time changing bed pans because he loses his medical license! And, for defense counsel, that’s right, it’s a court martial! Yes, Johnny! After falsely accusing a the President of the United States and the Chief of Staff of the Army of conspiracy and perjury, his defense team will have a long and prosperous career teaching… typewriter maintenance at the Rocco Globbo School for Women! Thank you for playing.

    –Ok, I may have taken some liberties with the scene. I doubt the Army could c-m Lakin’s civilian counsel, though if we give CAAF long enough they may find some exception big enough to make that happen.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Marsh, the Ayala opinion that was just released presents a topic for interesting discussion. I think the facts of the case reveal how the govt counsel outsmarted the defense by presenting evidence of a lying wing commander. It’s so obvious why the commander adopted the subterfuge policy. Stucky and his “look the other way” co-horts made a mockery of the miljus system with this decision. Like the torture policy, I guess the ends justifies the means.

  30. Anonymous says:

    @nutz. Please educate the haters on the underlying legal issue that’s whizzing past.

  31. Shay says:

    Phil has a point about the undisclosed birfer gambit. A fair number of those who post on the tinfoil hat brigade blogs are convinced that the US military is on the verge of staging a coup.

    Because of course no true blue American soldier-patriot would ever accept a Chicago Democrat (and a-gasp-coloured one, no less!) as Commander in Chief.

  32. Lee Marsh says:

    Thank you! I see Col Sullivan has posted about Ayala. Let the stimulating discussions begin. If I need mind-numbing, I can watch Springer; no need for more birther posts. ;)

  33. mikeyes says:

    CAPT Huet-Vaughn did not lose her license to practice medicine in Kansas, but only because she had a number of physicians (including some members of her unit) point out that she practiced in the poorest section of Kansas City. Instead, she was fined heavily which is the least sentence allowed by the board of medical examiners.

    Had she been stripped of her license, that action would have been known by every other medical licensing board in the country and most likely action would have been taken by any state in which she has a license. As it is, she will not be able to practice in a hospital due to the action taken by the board.

    LTC Lakin has licenses in HI, CO, and MD according to the bio. If one of those states takes his license away, the others will probably follow suit or fine him. Such actions will limit or deny him the privilege of practicing medicine throughout the country.

  34. Pain7 says:

    I have a question. At what point do this man’s actions become “mutiny”? Regardless as to what LTC Lakin thinks the CINC owes him in forms of explanation or proof, he is as wrong as “wrong”. That comment about the President not being qualified to run office is a poor excuse for missing movement. He didn’t take office the day that he received orders to deploy; he’d actually been awhile. That part makes it even harder for even his supporters to empathize with him. It seems that if a person is concerned about taking orders from an illegally appointed CINC, the he or she should also not further disgrace themselves by wearing the uniform or by continuing to receive pay. His unit probably scrambled to replace him on the manifest (after a case of the panics), not to mention the Commander’s and CSM’s anguish over a missing Soldier from the original roster; it can be a real headache. As an experienced 1SG, I know that had one of my Soldiers pulled a stunt like this, Iraq or Afghanistan would be the safest place for him/her.

  35. Stu Couch says:

    I predict he does get his wish for a GCM, guilty on all charges, and a sentence of 6 months confinement, letter of reprimand, and a dismissal. I don’t think members will give a fine to some nut who flushed 18 years service and a medical license down the toilet. (I’m also perplexed as to what the “underlying legal issue” is.)

  36. A Defense Counsel says:

    It depends on what Lakin wants, and I think that is publicity for his cause and a hope he can embarrass the President. If denied that chance at the 32, waiving the 32 might be a good tactic to guarantee he can accomplish his goals at a CM – and get to trial quickly before the next election.

  37. A Defense Counsel says:

    It will be an interesting voir dire.