Bales Art. 32 Continues with Defense Witnesses
Defense witnesses testified yesterday about their opinion of SSGT Robert Bales, NYT coverage here.  Additional coverage of the Afghan witnesses that testified from theTN-T (here).

Sinclair Hearing Continues with Reports of Nude Photos
Here and here are the coverage from Larry Flint. Okay, actually it is the always reliable Fayetteville Observer. But I won’t be surprised if Flint, Skinemax, or some other organization tried to make a movie out of this one.

Are all Military Members Immune from Torture Suits by US Citizens for Torture Overseas?
Maybe says the dissent in a 7th Circuit en banc case reports Reuters here. In an 8-3 decision the 7th Circuit sided with the USG (and 4th and DC Circuits) in finding that various high ranking officials could not be sued by two US private security contractor employees allegedly tortured in Iraq by US military personnel after they allegedly reported misconduct occurring in Iraq. Seventh Circuit decision here (h/t Lawfare).

PFC Manning Offers Partial Plea
Here is a CNET report on the hearing in the wiki[shhh] case. According to CNET Manning’s attorney discussed a potential partial plea offer. Additional coverage from the AP (via Baltimore Sun) here.  Mannings’s attorney has this to say on his website, noting that the plea is a naked plea without the benefit of a pre-trial agreement.

SGT Hurst Testifies in His Own Defense in PVT Chen Suicide Related Court-Martial

Here is the report from the Fayetteville Observer in the Hurst court-martial yesterday.  Hurst denied knowledge of many of the acts characterized as hazing by the prosecution.

11 Responses to “Military Justice News for Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012”

  1. k fischer says:

    Re: Sinclair

    I wonder if those disparaging the military’s stance on sexual assault or how the military takes it easy on officers will look at this case and realize how the military bends over backwards to give accusers a voice, even in the instance of a GO.  Here you have a female who alleges forcible sodomy AFTER she found out she was not the only one he was trying to hook up with where she was in a THREE year relationship where she had a crush like a “little schoolgirl” and says she still loves him.

    Then, you throw in all these other women who say that he made attempts, but they never had sex with him.  So, it appears he can take a hint.  And, he passed a polygraph on the forcible sodomy female’s allegations.

    So, now this GO is on trial (I don’t consider an Article 32 a mere investigation) where the maximum sentence is life in prison.  Will he get that sentence? No.  However, the point whether anyone in their right mind can anyone believe that the Government thinks it can get a conviction for forcible sodomy beyond a reasonable doubt based on these facts.  If not, then why charge him with this crime?

    Reminds me of the GITMO lunch scene from A Few Good Men, which was cut from the movie:

    KAFFEE Colonel Jessep … if it’s not too much
    trouble, I’d like a copy of the transfer
    order. Sir.

    JESSEP smiles.

    JESSEP No problem.

    HOLD for a moment. JO’s very disappointed.

    JESSEP stands there and watches the LAWYERS as they turn and
    leave the Officer’s Club.

    JESSEP (continuing)
    I hate casualties, Matthew. There are
    casualties even in victory. A Marine
    smothers a grenade and saves his platoon,
    that Marine’s a hero. The foundation of
    the unit, the fabric of this base, the
    spirit of the Corps, they are things worth
    fighting for.

    MARKINSON looks at the ground.

    JESSEP (continuing)
    Dawson and Downey, they don’t know it, but
    they’re smothering a grenade.

    I wonder if falsely accused Servicemembers who have highly questionable charges preferred against them, who get flagged, and who hire civilian defense counsel know they are just smothering a grenade. Pretty clear Sinclair has serious moral issues, so he is a rather unsympathetic accused to make this point. But, its still a point that needs making in the flood of changes to the UCMJ designed to aid accusers.



  2. Charlie Gittins says:

    This is an adultery/frat case that the Government has jammed into a sexual assault case because it is a GO.  Forcible sodomy?  I doubt it.  She doesn’t sound like she needed to be forced to do anything.  A more willing participant (3 years?) would be hard to find.   She doesn’t utter a peep until she finds out her “boyfriend” is working the company grade field.  The military has serious problems, but when they put on a show like this, it is hard to take military justice seriously.   What a monumental waste of time and taxpayer money.    

  3. Bill C says:

    And still no mention of who the CDC is.  

  4. k fischer says:


    Are you the CDC?
    I’m not the CDC……That’s two down. 

    However, I wish I was the CDC for two reasons:  (1)  It’s a winable case; and (2) Client can probably pay upfront…..

    As I read my previous post, I realized that there are probably quite a few victims of sexual assault in the military who would feel that they “smothered a grenade,” as well, by not pursuing charges or having the allegations swept under the rug by the Command.   However, I think that the tide has turned in vast favor of accusers. 

    It just seems like in this case the thought process wasn’t whether reasonable grounds existed to believe that BG Sinclair was guilty of the offense of forcible sodomy.  It seems like they knew they could prove sexual harrassment/franternization pretty easily, so like Charlie said they threw on this bs forcible sodomy charge, either to look tough on sexual assault, or to leverage a resignation in lieu of.  I’m not losing sleep over it in this case because this accused seems to have committed a lot of wrong according to the article.  

  5. bill C says:

    To quote Bob Dylan “It ain’t me babe”  I have asked others in the biz as well  it just strikes me as odd that info is not being released.  

  6. Charlie Gittins says:

    I talked to a friend at Bragg and he didn’t think that there is currently a CDC on the case.  He wasn’t certain, but that was his impression.

  7. SFC V says:

    I will admit the sexual assault aspect of this case is a tough row to hoe for the government but the other charges are more serious than your average improper relationship case.  Such cases generally require punihsment far short of a court martial but in this case I think such a course of action is appropriate.
    We have a GO who apparently used the Army as his own sexual playground.   It’s not OK for a GO to carry on multiple adulterous relationships with his subordinates.  I take a very dim view of those who abuse a position of trust and leadership to gratify their sexual desires.  Not only does this type of behavior affect Soldier’s but it affects their families. 

    When a senior leader does things like this I think something more than a reprimand and retirement is entirely appropriate.  I think the court martial of former CSM now SPC Ramsdell,, is analagous. (Except for destroying evidence and running away from the MPs)      


  8. Bill C says:

    Charlie:  I have it on information and belief that there is.  They have not put their names out. 

  9. Some Army Guy says:

    The articles I’ve seen have quoted two military DCs: LTC Thompson and MAJ Ramsey.  If there was a CDC, why would that have been excluded?

  10. k fischer says:

    SFC V, 

    I can agree with the preferral of the charges and argument that this should be handled at a General Court Martial based on your reasoning.  He ought to be hammered if all the stuff, other than the forcible sodomy, is true.  But, that forcible sodomy charge is clearly bs and should never have been brought.  

    Perhaps it is more palatable that this guy appears to be unsavory, so we really pay it no heed.  
    However, it speaks volumes of the direction our system is heading (or already there) which is if a person alleges sexual assault, do not question their veracity, do nothing independently to determine whether or not the accuser is telling the truth, discount every bit of exculpatory evidence presented to you from the accused’s side, and then charge everything you can no matter how outlandish the charges are.  Maybe he’ll submit a 10 or a RILO.

  11. SFC V says:

    k fischer,

    Isn’t looking at the truthfulness of the witnesses part of what the article 32 is for?  I think too often an Article 32 Investigation gets treated as “just something we have to do.”  It’s not a preliminary hearing it’s an investigation. 

    I’ll be interested to see what the I/O recommends as to the forcible sodomy charge.