More from the San Antonio News-Ledger, here, on another court-martial for consensual sex with recruits and trainees at Lackland.  SSGT Romero pleaded guilty to consensual sex with technical school trainees and adultery.  He received 30 days hard labor and no BCD. Romero was diagnosed with PTSD and may now have the ability to medically retire and receive treatment.

What are your thoughts on DoD opposing a bill in Congress to award Purple Hearts to the victims of the Ft. Hood attack, see Dallas Morning News commentary here. I am with the author that if the decision is even partially tied to MAJ Hasan getting a fair trial, an argument that could use a little ‘splainin, why not just say we’ll decide later?

Second murder case against a Ft. Stewart soldier, coverage of charges preferred here:

A Georgia soldier accused of plotting attacks as leader of an anti-government militia group was charged with murder by the Army on Wednesday in the 2011 death of his pregnant wife.

Pvt. Isaac Aguigui of Cashmere,Wash.,will face a military hearing to determine if a court-martial should try him in the death of his wife,Army Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui,said Fort Stewart officials in southeast Georgia. The Army also charged Aguigui with causing the death of an unborn child,a boy,when his wife died in July 2011. Military authorities spent nearly two years investigating,but have not released any details about the killing.

“Every victim deserves to have their case prosecuted. In this case it took some time,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson.

Less than five months after his wife’s death,Aguigui and three fellow Fort Stewart soldiers were charged by civilian authorities in the December 2011 shooting deaths of Michael Roark,a former member of their Army unit,and Roark’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York. Civilian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Aguigui,saying he ordered the deaths to keep the couple from exposing the militia group.

8 Responses to “Military Justice News for Apr. 4, 2013”

  1. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    I was wondering when you guys would get around to raising the Hasan Purple Heart story….
    Right call here?  I don’t know.  Having worked for the government for years now, I at least have enough of an insider’s view that I could probably explain DoD’s position to an outsider in a calm, one-on-one discussion (without necessarily agreeing with the position myself).  Unfortunately, our soundbyte/bumper-sticker society doesn’t see the collateral consequences to a court-martial.  What they see is, “Oh noes, the government is being mean to victims of an Islamic terrorist!”  In our emotion-heavy, PR-based world, this reaction was bound to happen.  (Emoting is how we got to where we are in the sexual assault world, isnt it?)  I really hope somebody thought through the P.R. angle before DoD took this position. 
    My personal, non-attribution position: 1) Maybe if this trial had moved faster (due process notwithstanding), we wouldn’t be here, and everybody would have their Purple Hearts by now. 2) Stick a paragraph in the bill that says “The granting of this award and the contents of the accompanying citation shall not be admissible evidence at any criminal proceeding.”  3) Assuming this goes before a panel, trust your officers–who are going to be at least O-4 in rank, almost certainly higher–to make the right decision.  The voir dire is already going to have to ask each of them “Are you familiar with this case?” (of course they are) and “Can you disregard anything you have previously heard about it?”  If they can honestly get past the second question, then any Purple Heart citation should logically be disregarded by the panel anyway.

  2. charlie gittins says:

    Well, the DoD awarded PHM’s to the Canadians killed in a friendly fire accident when they were conducting live fire exercises that looked to an overhead F-16 crew like rockets being fired at the F-16s.  If the DoD is willing to issue PHMs to foreigners who were killed during a non-combat training exercise, albeit in Afghanistan, I think it is a pretty hard sell not to award PHMs to victims of Islamic terrorism on US soil.  Treating these people differently than the victims of 9-11 and the Afghan friendly firew accident makes no sense and really would have no impact on the trial if, as I would expect, Judge Osborne gives a proper limiting instruction or excludes evidence concerning the award of the PHM to the victims.  DoD has drawn an unsupportable line, IMO.  

  3. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Would an award of the Purple Heart open the door to the accused arguing combatant’s privilege? 
     
    I agree with ResIpsa that this wouldn’t be an issue if this case had gotten to trial faster.  We got from Pearl Harbor to the Normandy Invasion faster than this case is getting to trial.

  4. ResIpsaLoquitur says:

    Actually, it just occurred to me that this is the complete opposite of the detainees at GTMO, where we have a clear extrajudicial definition of those folks as terrorists/al Qaeda/Taliban members.  Some of those folks are awaiting trial before the commissions.  Did anyone consider that an extrajudicial “enemy combatant” classification could spoil a later trial?
    I’m not a commissions expert, so if someone wants to explain the difference–different administrations notwithstanding–I’d like to hear it.

  5. Lieber says:

    If combatant/unprivileged combatant (why they rephrased that as “enemy combatant” beats me) classifications made prosecutions impossible then all violations of the LOAC would be unprosecutable.  Identifying a target as a combatant/unprivileged combatant is simply a basic part of waging war.

  6. John Baker says:

    Thanks the link Phil — you notice how they report the # of convictions as if that is the yardstick by which we should measure progress in this area?