Here’s an article by Michael Doyle concerning military judges’ rulings that the Commandant of the Marine Corps created the appearance of unlawful command influence through his remarks during his “Heritage Briefs.”

6 Responses to “McClatchy article on military judges finding apparent UCI by CMC”

  1. Charlie Gittins says:

    I cannot believe that mt didn’t name the LTC MJ in the last 2 paragraphs.
     
     

  2. Michael Doyle says:

    Yes, that’s a fair question. I wasn’t able to contact the officer, and so I hesitated to put his name out there given the circumstances of his leaving the bench…I’m not sure that was the right call, but I was playing it safe.

  3. Atticus says:

    I think tCol D’s ruling allowing multiple additional challenges is the right call and strikes a reasonable balance.  If the CMC were to now go off and make additional commenst in the same vein, we may then get into the land of dismissing charges with prejudice.

  4. Brian Bouffard says:

    The finding was apparent UCI.  Query whether a reasonable member of the public, aware of all the facts, would now (as a result of the remedy) feel confident that an accused charged with an Article 120 offense will receive a fair trial in a Marine court-martial.

    Now, query whether you are convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that that reasonable member of the public would feel that way.

    I think an honest answer to that question has to be a resounding NO.  The Commandant has done incalculable damage to the credibility and fairness of our system.  He has gratuitously thumbed his nose at the concept that you should listen to lawyers who know better than you do about consequences like this.  And in gleefully telling everyone, “Yeah, I blew off my lawyers because this is too important not to,” he has set the example and given them implicit (virtually explicit) permission to do the same.  “Yeah, I blew off what that military judge instructed me because convicting this guilty bastard is too important.”

    What command apologist can possibly spin the fact that the Commandant told the pool of potential members that he personally sees the results of courts-martials and BOIs cross his desk, and that lenient results disappoint and upset him, and that he will know the names of the “weak” and “soft” members who deliver such results?

  5. Harm Rabb says:

    For all of his public bravado and chest thumping over how his power allows him to ignore his lawyers, he surely changed his tune in White Letter 3-12, dated July 12th.  Everyone here has seen it, right?  NFL cornerbacks don’t backpedal this well. 

    Subj: LEADERSHIP

    1. Commanding Generals, Commanding Officers, Senior Staff
    Noncommissioned Officers (SNCOs), leaders … Sergeant Major Barrett
    and I have, for the most part, completed presenting the Heritage
    Brief throughout the Corps. While we no doubt missed some
    officers and SNCOs, we were able to speak face-to-face with the
    bulk of our Corps’ leadership about “Who We Are … and Who We Are
    Not.” As Commandant, I have no greater responsibility to our
    institution than to ensure that our Corps adheres to the
    legendary high levels of discipline and professionalism expected
    of us by the American people. I will not stop talking about
    this matter, and neither should you! Additionally, just last
    month, I signed our Marine Corps’ Sexual Assault Prevention and
    Response Campaign Plan. As such, I thought it timely that I
    reinforce a couple of key elements of our way-ahead on these
    matters.

    2. While the Heritage Brief spoke in some detail about the
    matters of accountability, discipline, sexual assault and
    hazing, I want to be clear about our ever-present
    responsibilities as senior leaders to uphold the enduring tenets
    of the Military Justice System. While the briefings express my
    strong feelings about “getting the Corps back on a heading of
    True North,” I am not directing or suggesting specific
    administrative or military justice actions be taken absent
    compliance with established law. My intent is not to influence
    the outcome or response in any particular case, but rather to
    positively influence the behavior of Marines across our Corps.
    As senior leaders, we have the inherent responsibility to ensure
    the sanctity of our justice system, this includes the
    presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise.

    3. More specifically, as you implement our Sexual Assault
    Prevention and Response Campaign Plan, there are a couple of
    things that I want you to keep in mind. Sexual assault is a
    problem. It’s a reality in our society and thus it’s a reality
    in our Corps. Statistics reflect that alcohol is a contributing
    factor to the majority of our sexual assaults, and something
    that we must address in our overall plan.
    4. Next, the matter of whether or not a Marine committed a
    sexual assault and what should happen, will be determined based
    on the facts presented. I expect all Marines involved in the
    military justice process — from convening authorities, to
    members, to witnesses — to make their own independent
    assessment of the facts and circumstances of each case.
    5. Let me be clear about my intent … I expect each of you to do
    your duty and to set a command climate such that sexual assault
    is known among your Marines as shameful and unacceptable.
    Intervene to prevent sexual assault from occurring in the first
    place, and when it is alleged … take your responsibilities as
    leaders seriously. Above all, do what you believe is right in
    each case.

    6. I’ve just spent the past two days at Quantico discussing all
    of these issues with most of the General Officers in our Corps.
    I stressed to them the importance of taking sexual assault
    seriously while fulfilling their responsibilities as Commanders
    and as Convening Authorities under the UCMJ. I directed each to
    ensure that the content and intent behind this White Letter is
    discussed in detail with each of their commanders and throughout
    their organizations.

  6. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Here (at marines.mil) is the backpedal memo by General Amos that CDR Rabb refers to.  Not sure it helps.