In a story available here Rowan Scarborough reports for the Washington Times that:
Retired Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge charges in a May 5 signed affidavit that the then-judge advocate general of the Navy and her deputy tried to persuade him not to exonerate the sailor because it would be bad public relations for the Navy and hurt Mr. Lorge’s career.
. . .
Mr. Lorge said he came to believe that there was insufficient evidence to convict and wanted to overturn the verdict. His staff judge advocate advisers tried to talk him out of it. Failing, they then brought in the Navy’s powerhouse admirals to talk him out of it.
Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi, then judge advocate general of the Navy, talked to him in his office.
. . .
He then spoke by telephone with Vice Adm. James Crawford III, then Adm. DeRenzi’s deputy and the current judge advocate general of the Navy.
. . .
“Upon my review of the record of trial from this case, I did not find that the government proved the allegation against Senior Chief Barry beyond a reasonable doubt,” Mr. Lorge wrote. “Absent the pressures described above, I would have disapproved the findings in this case.”
The case is that of Senior Chief Barry, U.S. Navy, who was convicted of one specification of sexual assault in violation of Article 120, and sentenced to confinement for three years and a dishonorable discharge. Admiral Lorge approved the findings and sentence, and the NMCCA affirmed in an opinion available here. The CCA’s opinion included this detail:
In relevant part, the convening authority stated:
In my seven years as a General Court-Martial Convening Authority, I have never reviewed a case that has given me greater pause[.] The evidence presented at trial and the clemency submitted . . . was compelling and caused me concern as to whether SOCS Barry received a fair trial or an appropriate sentence. I encourage the Appellate Court to reconcile the apparent divergent case law addressing the testimony that an accused may present during sentencing for the purpose of reconsideration under R.C.M. 924. Additionally, having personally reviewed the record of trial, I am concerned that the judicial temperament of the Military Judge potentially calls into question the legality, fairness, and impartiality of this court-martial. The validity of the military justice system depends on the impartiality of military judges both in fact and in appearance. If prejudicial error was committed, I strongly encourage the Appellate Court to consider remanding this case for further proceedings or, in the alternative, disapproving the punitive discharge pursuant to Article 66(c), UCMJ, thereby allowing the accused to retire in the rank that he last honorably served.
United States v. Barry, No. 201500064, slip op. at 6-7 n.14 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. October 31, 2016) (marks in original) (link to slip op.).