The Capitol Gazette in Annapolis reports:

The superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy said Monday he went against a recommendation and court-martialed two former football players in a high-profile sexual assault case because he wanted a “full illumination” of the case.

And the Washington Post says:

Preliminary hearings are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the case of two former Navy football players facing separate courts-martial in an alleged sexual assault of a female midshipman in April 2012.

Attorneys for Joshua Tate of Nashville are seeking to have his case dismissed. They said in court filings that there is insufficient evidence to go forward and that the U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller, bowed to political pressure when he chose to put Tate and fellow midshipman Eric Graham of Eight Mile, Ala., on trial over the recommendation of a military judge and a separate legal adviser.

6 Responses to “Interesting timing”

  1. Former DC says:

    I find it fascinating the short sightedness at play. There is this huge push to move responsibility for sexual assault to prosecutors, but I note this little point: right now, commanders routinely charge cases which, if viewed empirically, are factually very weak. This isn’t a secret. Time and again, cases which happened in town but were declined by civilian prosecutors – citing insufficient evidence – are routinely tried at GCM. This, of course, means that there are many cases which get acquittals (contributing to the allegedly “too high” acquittal rate), but there are some of these cases which actually do result in convictions. So be it. But here is the short sightedness: one need only look so far as the current allegations against the Florida State quarterback to see what will happen if these changes occur. That case, it appears, has insufficient evidence. The professional prosecutor – that is, the same kind of person these proposals want to put in charge – looked at the evince and said no charges. Fine; I have no problem with that. But anyone who has been in our system for any time knows that those same facts, were he Airman Winston instead of Mr. Winston, would have been taken by his commander as at least enough to charge and refer to court martial. I really think that the people who advocate for this change believe that the change will result in more prosecutions, not less. I think, once the newness has worn off, that he exact opposite result will occur. That is unfortunate, because some of these weak, not-charged-by-a-professional-prosecutor cases really are legitimate, and sometimes, in our system, those cases are won. Those cases, which more than a case with good evidence, need their day in court. Unfortunately, given how this seems to work, such legitimate victims who don’t have perfect evidence – especially our most common case, the “he said/she said – was there consent on not? – blue on blue” probably will never see the inside of a courtroom. Short sighted, and sad. 

  2. D Wright says:

    Agree that if Winston were in the military he definitely would be facing a GCM.  What I find the height of hypocrisy is that the same lawmakers who vilify the military for a “sexual assault crisis”  do not express any disappointment in the State Atty’s decision not to charge Winston or even suggest that perhaps this young man does not deserve College Football’s highest honor which is supposedly reserved for “The outstanding college footbal player whose perfromance best exhibits the purusit of excellence with integrity.”    

  3. Bill Cassara says:

    Hey D Wright.  Having read the police report in the Winston case, I can’t imagine any prosecutor (or commander) taking the case to trial.  The only thing JW did was hook up.  Hardly a matter that shows a lack of integrity.  But I am a ‘Nole, so I am a little biased. 

  4. k fischer says:

    BC, I, too, graduated from FSU and read the police report, and I agree that PFC Winston would have faced a GCM.  I, too, think that from my reading of the police report, there was plenty of good stuff for the defense and reasonable doubt would have been plentiful in the average civilian juror’s mind.  However, I did not see the smoking gun that proved she was lying.  This would have at least made it to an Article 32 where she would have been destroyed on cross and the case would be dismissed with PFC Winston getting a GOMOR or Article 15 for indecent acts.DW, unfortunately, Willie Meggs does not have the luxury of seating a jury all of whom have been indoctrinated every April that if a female has one drink, then she can’t consent, that false sexual assault allegations rarely, if ever, occur, or that if a female still maintains a relationship with her rapist, then that is perfectly normal.  I can understand why he would not want to waste the State’s resources prosecuting this case without having the cards stacked in his favor.  With regards to Congress, I wonder if the hypocrisy might could be explained by those who typically have the most shrill voice regarding sexual assault in the military that this case involves an African American male who was accused of raping a white blonde female and the police and prosecutor had a press conference where plenty a good chuckle was passed around while announcing that he wouldn’t be charged; particularly, after all the ballyhoo surrounding charging decisions in Florida, race, and the Zimmerman case. I think that if these lawmakers went after Winston with the same vigor as Zimmerman, then they might be accused of many heinous things, such a being a racist, lynchings, etc.  Overall, I agree with the decision not to charge as I imagine that there are a lot of things that were not said regarding the interviews Meggs conducted, but I am a defense hack, so I am a little biased.  After the accuser’s comment that the decision would make it more difficult for victims to come forward, if there was any exculpatory evidence  that I was holding back like pictures of them together prior to the incident, pictures after the incident, tweets talking about Jameis Winston, the video Chris Casher was filming on his phone, etc., then I would, allegations of victim shaming be damned, release every piece of evidence that I had showing why I was chuckling during the presser.  

  5. Lieber says:

    oh, I would have taken the case to an Article 32 and then probably shut it down.  As for the Article 15 for indecent acts…don’t believe that spec was available at the time of the offense?

  6. k fischer says:

    Lieber, Thanks for the correction.  Okay, so I guess he would get a GOMOR, similar to a client of mine who got a locally filed GOMOR after his commander dismissed the rape charge after the 32 for bringing some less than desireable local back to the barracks and hooking up in the bathroom.