This article is also a demonstration of the injustice that can result from the lack of appellate review of subjurisdictional courts-martial.  If LT House and his co-accused had a right to appellate review arising from their contested court-martial convictions without regard to their sentence, their unjust convictions almost certainly would have been overturned by NMCCA or CAAF.  To the best of my knowledge, the court-martial convictions of LT House’s two co-accused — which we now know were obtained at least in part based on fraudulent testimony — remain in place.  The military justice system should be scandalized by that.  Bravo to McClatchey for shining a spotlight on the problem!

Here are links to related articles:  link, link, link, link, graphic, timeline, collected stories.

6 Responses to “McClatchey runs series of articles on USACIL’s woes”

  1. Dew_Process says:

    It’s one thing [and bad enough at that] to have a fraudulent lab tech. Quite another to conspire to stonewall, cover-up or prevent the truth to come out while countless defendants, sat in prison based upon dubious convictions.

  2. Bill C says:

    I am admittedly biased, as I represent LT Harris, but this is a shame. These people had their lives turned upside down and we are having to fight, claw and scratch to put them back in order.

  3. Ama Goste says:

    Mills gets no sympathy from me, and neither does Marcenaro. When the 16-year-old babysitter goes running out the door into the rain because she’s just been raped and you claim you didn’t look at the woman you had sex with, but you “thought she was your wife,” then you feign lack of understanding of English (despite being an NCO who graduated from a US high school) in your court-martial testimony, Mills’ errors are truly harmless. While the other appellants in the stories might have been wrongly convicted, choosing Marcenaro as one of the poster boys for these articles was a poor decision.

  4. Justin says:

    An even-less sympathetic appellant is Luke. There’s simply no rational, plausible explanation for Luke’s DNA being on the victim’s bra — which wasn’t tested by Mills.

    FD: I was the trial counsel on the second DuBay hearing in Luke, from which it’s obvious that much of this report’s “investigation” was drawn, including the quotes from CAPT MacKenzie and Dr. Shaler.

    I would think that an important point for the reporter to pass to readers is that CAPT MacKenzie, having heard the evidence from the review and declared that he his confidence in USACIL was gone, then found that Mills’s errors did not impact the findings in Luke’s case. And that appellate courts at two levels agreed.

  5. USMCinjustice says:

    What Mills, Smetana, the USACIL and military did was wrong. Having read the reports and statements of Mills’ and Smetana’s co-workers, any MJO who offerred either of these gentlemen as ‘expert witnesses’ should feel disrespected – so much so they would encourage each case to be re-visited. You can not put a price tag on justice and until this is done, we can not say there is justice in th military. In one judge’s words, USACIL’s foot dragging ‘could be considered contemptuous’ – like CAPT MacKenzie, stood on the fence…
    Sure, there’s no perfect trial, no perfect defense but the admission of DNA, DNA reports, and expert witnesses who are found to be discredited (to the point where their conduct spanned the time frame of these trials) is not a ‘mere imperfection.’ This seriously supports the premonitions ‘there is no justice in the military;’ ‘you are guilty until proven innocent.’ Honestly, regardless of whether I personally think someone is guilty or not; or the seriousness of the crimes they are accused of, the idea of this happening sickens me. I pray others feel the same.
    ‘It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.’ (Voltaire)

  6. Stewie says:

    I have no problem if the reporter passes along that in some cases, the errors didn’t result in overturned cases, but when the legitimate main story is what it was, I’m not sure it’s all that important of a point.

    We look to things that we know are flawed like eyewitness testimony as crucial indicators of guilt when arguably they are not.

    It’s thus paramount that if nothing else, we get the things we know we can make solid, like scientific testing, as free from error and malfeasance as possible.