Here is an AP news story about the arrest and indictment of Navy Captain John Nettleton – who is on active duty – for obstruction of justice, concealment of material facts, falsification of records, and making false statements in connection with a 2015 investigation into the death of a civilian employed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. Nettleton was the commander of the installation at the time of the death.

The nine-count indictment is available here.

21 Responses to “DOJ indicts former Gitmo commander – who is still on active duty – for alleged misconduct in connection with a death investigation”

  1. Michael Lowrey says:

    And the obvious questions:
    • Why did it take four years to issue an indictment? This doesn’t seem like a complicated case.
    • Why is Nettleton being tried in federal court? Nettleton’s alleged crimes came while in part acting in an official capacity.

  2. Jeff says:

    #1) Probably because NCIS was involved
    #2) Because it’d be too hard to find Admiral’s who don’t know CNIC’s Commander, VADM Jackson (formerly of CNRSE) – and good luck getting a sentence more than 30 days. Also, MJA 16. 

  3. Isaac Kennen says:

    This prosecution is being carried out by the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.

  4. Sua Sponte says:

    Since when are the Feds required to transfer jurisdiction to the military?

  5. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    “Transfer jurisdiction.”  What jurisdiction is there to transfer?  “The Feds” = “the military” = “DOJ’s Public Integrity Section” = The United States.
     
    The United States is a unitary entity.  There is only one.  It speaks with a single voice.  One thing that really bothers CAAF (or at least bothered, Judge Effron harped on it a lot when he was on the Court) is different government appellate divisions setting forth contrary statements or theories of what the law is or should be.  Shouldn’t be possible, since the US is a unitary entity.  Of course, the same thing happens between the federal circuits.  Shouldn’t happen, but it does.
     
    There ought be only one joint government appellate division, speaking with one voice, for all the services, to ensure that the US is speaking with one voice.  Fat chance of that happening. 
     
    Kind regards,
    CS
     

  6. Allan says:

    “The US is a unitary entity”.  Really?  That certainly does not apply to double jeopardy.  Just ask Jeffrey McDonald.

  7. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Well, Allan, I can’t ask Jeffrey MacDonald, because he’s in prison (I assume we’re talking about the Jeffrey MacDonald, medical doctor, convicted of murdering his family at Ft. Bragg).  Perhaps you can explain to me how MacDonald was convicted in violation of double jeopardy, because from my very cursory review of the case, he was subject to trial only once, in Federal court.
     
    Kind regards,
    CS

  8. Edward Lerner says:

    allan
    I suggest jeopardy never attached.He  was never tried in the military system but tried in the USDC I believe Eastern District of North Carolina The jurisdictional  issue  in the McDonald Case was speedy trial. 
     

  9. Allan says:

    Cloud… and Edward.  Right you are.  The courts found that jeopardy had not attached in the military case against MacDonald.  I stand corrected.

  10. Zachary D Spilman says:

    I’d bet a round of drinks that the reason the public integrity section has this case is that it sort of (but not really) creates a way around the memorandum of understanding between the DOJ and the DoD (Appendix 3 of the MCM).

  11. Some Army Guy says:

    So…
    Did he kill the husband too?

  12. Barry McCockiner says:

    SAG, that’s the 64k question.  Will we ever know?  Only one way to find out…
    McCockiner, out.

  13. Philip D. Cave says:

    The United States is a unitary entity.  There is only one.  It speaks with a single voice.  One thing that really bothers CAAF (or at least bothered, Judge Effron harped on it a lot when he was on the Court) is different government appellate divisions setting forth contrary statements or theories of what the law is or should be.  Shouldn’t be possible, since the US is a unitary entity.  Of course, the same thing happens between the federal circuits.  Shouldn’t happen, but it does.
     
    And, as I have argued, essentially gives the government up to three times many more pages in which to state their case while the defense is still limited to one.
     
    CAAF rules should be amended to require the Service appellate government division to coordinate their response with the other appellate government divisions and, upon motion, have an additional five or 10 pages of argument, and where the government does take that option the defense gets an extra five in Reply.

  14. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Phil,
     
    You and I look to be in wide agreement on this issue.  It’s also embarrassing as can be to have another service file a brief in your case singing out of key, as it were, and having to tap dance at oral argument.  I seem to recall either me or someone in the division floating a little balloon about merging the appellate government divisions.  That idea got hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and had its entrails cut out and burned before it even got out the door.  Threatened too many fiefdoms, rice bowls, and most importantly, O-6 command billets in comfy DC.
     
    Kind regards,
    CS

  15. Zachary D Spilman says:

    The United States is a unitary entity.  There is only one.  It speaks with a single voice. One thing that really bothers CAAF (or at least bothered, Judge Effron harped on it a lot when he was on the Court) is different government appellate divisions setting forth contrary statements or theories of what the law is or should be.

    That’s why I call the Government Divisions government divisions (rather than the government).

    And it’s not like the Government Divisions don’t take inconsistent positions. Just last term, for example, the Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Government Division argued that R.C.M. 919(c) was a waiver rule (in Andrews) while the Army Government Appellate Division argued that it was a forfeiture rule (in Burris).

  16. Philip D. Cave says:

    You are correct, there was such discussions.  You could name it the “Rice Bowl” in honor of the Rose Bowl.
     
    The discussion also included merging the Service Appellate courts.
     
    Then there was the discussion about merging the “justice” schools at TJAGSA.  The Congressional response was to build a new edifice in the wilds of Alabama.
     
    The argument continues to be nuances among the Services which precludes a Navy judge from judging an Army case, etc., etc., etc.  Funny, but we civilians spend a lot of time in different Service courts, and nobody seems to have said the same about CAAF, which arguably is sometimes worse (not all CAAF judge have served).  I mean if that nuance theory is true, how in the world can Judge Maggs or Ohlson rule in Navy cases, or Ryan in any case except a Navy-Marine case.

  17. Nathan Freeburg says:

    You know, I haven’t found any differences at all between the services in the court room.  (Minor differences in docketing, exclusively with the Air Force, the other four services all do it the same way.)
    Administrative actions on the other hand….

  18. Fisch says:

    I’d bet a round of drinks that the reason the public integrity section has this case is that it sort of (but not really) creates a way around the memorandum of understanding between the DOJ and the DoD (Appendix 3 of the MCM).
     

    Zack, 
     
    My conspiracy theory is that when Senator Gillibrand is elected President in 2020, this will create a template for prosecuting Commanders and Convening Authorities who fail to refer cases involving sexual assault to Court-martial.  UCI doesn’t apply to DOJ actions, now does it?
     
    I mean, rather than allegedly obstructing justice by trying to cover up the fact that he was having an affair with the decedent’s wife, what if he was trying to protect his XO?  Wouldn’t the same actions that he took be the same crime?  Now apply that to a rape case where a Commander does something not quickly enough.  Would that be obstruction of justice?

  19. Zachary D Spilman says:

    My conspiracy theory is that when Senator Gillibrand is elected President in 2020

    Day-drinking, eh?

    Now apply that to a rape case where a Commander does something not quickly enough.  Would that be obstruction of justice?

    The Special Counsel might say so, but the Attorney General knows better.

  20. Curious JAG says:

    On a more esoteric note, how did it come to be that the Middle District of Florida apparently includes a section of the sovereign nation of Cuba, albeit a section that is leased by the U.S.?

  21. GTMO alum says:

    Federal crimes committed on GTMO are prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 7 – ” Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”  In practice, venue is whatever district the accused is brought into the U.S. from “the island.”  The rotator flight from GTMO lands in Jacksonville, Florida (MD-FL), which also happens to be where Navy (usually) has a SAUSA assigned.

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