From Stars and Stripes, here:

The Army has issued a formal reprimand for misconduct to its former top sex-crimes prosecutor after investigating a complaint that he kissed and groped a female officer while attending a conference on sexual-assault prevention, according to Army officials.

Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse received the reprimand in late June, officials said, four months after the Army received the complaint and suspended him from his job as supervisor of the Army’s special-victim prosecutors.

Morse has apparently notified the Army that he plans to retire.  Can things get any worse on this front . . . did I actually type that?  H/t JG

18 Responses to “Top Army Sex Crimes Trial Counsel Reprimanded”

  1. stewie says:

    Well, if it was a CPT that worked for him that would pretty much be the definition of an improper relationship. If it was just a random CPT, then it boils down to whether or not there is something wrong with a consensual relationship between a LTC and a CPT. MAJ-CPT happens all the time. I know there was a pic on the front of JAGCNET about 6 months to a year ago of a LTC-CPT JAG marriage.
     
    So, I’m guessing this boils down to she worked for him, and that’s why he got the GOMOR.  If true, that would be appropriate IMO.

  2. charlie gittins says:

    The accusation was non-consensual groping and kissing.  Reprimand allows the Army to avoid another embarrassing he-said, she said court-martial.  I am guessing he would not accept NJP, so they gave him the reprimand, which we all know, deep down, is simply a tool to destroy a career without real due process or having to go to trial, where another embarrassing loss might occur. 

  3. stewie says:

    Generally you don’t see NJP in the Army for inappropriate relationships, the standard punishment is a GOMOR. So, no I doubt he turned down NJP both because that isn’t the standard punishment, and because the command wouldn’t have wasted time offering it because a turn-down is both likely (if not guaranteed) and takes them right back to square one.
     
    Is a GOMOR not an appropriate punishment for an improper relationship? (assuming it was one, I don’t have any inside knowledge).
    The problem is not the GOMOR, the problem is that we are getting there via an almost court-martial.

  4. A. Dreyfus says:

    Yeah, No Man, you typed that. Apparently the Air Force has a sex assault case at Little Rock Air Force Base with a UCI of an entirely different flavor, or possible UCI anyway. A motion was argued two weeks ago for UCI when the panel selected by the GCMCA was composed of 80% women. A male accused, naturally, sat facing an enlisted panel composed of 5 female enlisted, three female officers and two male officers before the start of voir dire. Yeah. It can get worse. This is nothing short of insanity. Could the selection have been fair as a matter of law? Sure. But really…..

  5. stewie says:

    I don’t know, I liked female panel members as a DC. They always spend as much time judging the alleged victim as they do the accused. Admittedly, 80% is obviously something “designed” by the GCMCA, that didn’t just happen by accident.

  6. J says:

    Completely agree. I liked female members when I was DC as well.

  7. DCGoneGalt says:

    The Air Force is 18.9% female.  The officer pool is 19.8% female and the enlisted pool is 18.7% female.  So each member has a 20% chance of being female.  The odds of a panel of 10 having 8 females is . . . the result of random chance after close consideration of the Art 25 factors.

  8. J says:

    As a DC I once had a client accused of groping a female sailor. It was being handled at an administrative separation board. All three members were female (on a ship where the percentage of females was pretty small). Not only did they find no basis, but the senior female berated the government rep about what she saw as an attempt to pack the board.
    80% female sounds like something less than random, also sounds like someone isn’t thinking about the possible unintended consequences.
     

  9. Bill Cassara says:

    I did a non sexual assault case a few years ago where my white officer client was accused of kidnapping and assaulting an African American. We got the panel venire the night before trial, and it was probably 2/3 African Americans.  When is the last time you saw an officer panel that was 2/3 African Americans?  Coincidence?  Maybe, but it sure looked shady. We went JA and he was acquitted.

  10. k fischer says:

    I was just having a conversation about female panel members on Article 120 boards.   They are less likely to be swayed by a good acting job and will have no qualms about judging her.  When a hot female victim starts crying on cue, male panel members are more likely to zone out and listen to contradictions in her testimony, or be susceptible to “male guilt” particularly after one watches “The Invisible War.”  Female panel members don’t have babybatter to make their brains shut down.   But, you have to have some pretty good evidence that she is lyling about force or being too drunk.
     
    With regards to LTC Morse, I wish him Godspeed.  I hear he’s a pretty good writer.  Maybe he can write a book or a screenplay.

  11. DCGoneGalt says:

    All statements about who you “want” on a jury are based on stereotypes of the jurors we have had and have heard about on these alcohol-related sexual assault cases.  With that being said, many times all you have to go on are stereotypes based on the cookie-cutter answers you often get in voir dire.  Based on my personal experience and the discussions I have had with counsel of both sides with opinions across the spectrum . . . give me a panel of non-medical CGOs (perferably prior enlisted or recently out of school) as well as SNCOs (or NCOs) of any gender and I will roll with it.  The only thing I did not want is FGOs (of any gender).  I adopted a well-earned blanket policy of not trusting a word that came out of their mouths with respect to sexual assault or their “independence” of the sexual assault climate/command policy/promotion concerns.  I saw their “independence” in action every day and did all I could to purge every last one of them as members. 

  12. k fischer says:

    DCGG, 
     
    I disagree with regards to FG females.  Maybe it is different in the Air Force, but in the Army I have found that females who are FG officers are usually pretty independent thinkers who will call bs on some “counterintuitive” conduct.  However, I agree that FG males will look you in the eye and agree that the accused is not guilty until the Government proves their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and they would never dream of drawing an adverse inference from you client’s decision not to testify, and all of it is lies.

  13. DCGoneGalt says:

    Crusty SNCOs are where I put my trust, at least the current crop.  They know BS when they see it, whether it is a coming from the gubmint or the defense.  If your case isn’t BS, go with crusty SNCOs.  Nuff’ said.

  14. Anonymous Air Force Senior Defense Counsel says:

    What I’d really like to have on my jury is civilians.

  15. Advocaat says:

    Well said, AAFSDC!  I believe female panel members are given undue weight during sex assault deliberations (one is the loneliest and worst number in this regard) and so I preferred driving towards all-male panels with great success, although I am convinced my fastest acquittal came thanks to a female CGO.  I would not have a problem with an all-female panel, especially with enlisted members, because I believe the conditions would be set for two camps and an acquittal.

  16. Zeke says:

    100 percent agree with AAFSDC.  Debating which sort of court martial panel composition is best suited to the ends of justice is futile.  Our forebears long ago determined the composition of a court that was best suited the true purpose of a court: ensuring that the government governs only by the consent of the governed.  That composition is 12 common citizens, equal to the accused and to each other, and required to be unanimous in their verdict.  I think anything short of that is a parody of justice and is dismissive of the principle of limited government that this nation was founded upon.  “You can bail water 24/7, and no matter how good you are at not sinking, you still have a hole in your boat.”  – Kelli Baeli

  17. Lieber says:

    LTC Morse was the incoming head of TCAP at the time of the alleged assault.  As such, he was the incoming supervisor of the alleged victim.  Thus the alleged inappropriate relationship.  There are any number of Army FG JAs that have married or had relationships with CG JAs not under their supervision.

  18. RKincaid3 (RK3PO) says:

    @ Zeke:

    Our forebears long ago determined the composition of a court that was best suited the true purpose of a court: ensuring that the government governs only by the consent of the governed. That composition is 12 common citizens, equal to the accused and to each other, and required to be unanimous in their verdict. I think anything short of that is a parody of justice and is dismissive of the principle of limited government that this nation was founded upon.

    Amen!
     
    @ Lieber:

    LTC Morse was the incoming head of TCAP at the time of the alleged assault. As such, he was the incoming supervisor of the alleged victim. Thus the alleged inappropriate relationship.

    Applying the plain meaning of the word “Incoming” means that AT THE TIME of the conduct at issue, he was NOT her supervisor and she was not “under his supervision.” Thus, there was no inapporpiate relationship AT THE TIME of the conduct at issue, right?
     
    What was the offensive or criminal conduct at issue? The public record has provided no reason for us to believe that there was any misconduct at all on LTC Morse’s part–just a mere allegation. Unfortunately, in this toxic climate, “mere allegation” can result in a GOMOR simply because the imposing official finds the perfectly legal conduct otherwise disreputable, unprofessional, unappealing, or dare I say it, politically expedient and necessary–all totally subjective standards.
     
    On the other hand, perhaps, he made a statement instead of invoking and thereby gave the Army some legitimate misconduct (possibly totally unrelated to the allegations but otherwise subjectively inappropriate???) to support a GOMOR–which even if such other conduct were otherwise totally legal, surfacing as it did during this toxic time meant that a GOMOR was unavoidable for reasons having nothing to do whatsoever with the legality (or illegality) of the admitted conduct.
     
    In any event, are we really getting to the point where “prospective” misconduct is sufficient to destroy good people in the pursuit of political appeasment? Are our services (and the nation) following a bunch of Neville Chamberlain-types who are seeking political “peace in our time” at all costs?
     
    If so, better que up Tom Cruise’s “Pre-Crime” division, ala, “Minority Report.” Scary times are indeed here if “potential misconduct” or “pre-crime” is acceptable in a “justice” system. Oh, wait–a GOMOR is administrative–and justice (as a concept) doesn’t matter in purely administrative actions.