The Air Force Times reports here about an Air Force Judge Advocate who was convicted of attempted larceny and making a false official statement at a general court-martial, and sentenced to be dismissed. The report states that Lt. Col. Deric Prescott – who formerly served as the staff judge advocate for Minot Air Force Base – “was convicted of one count and one specification of making a false official statement, a violation of Article 107 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and one count and one specification of attempted larceny of an amount greater than $500 from the moving company Total Moving Management, a violation of Article 80 of the UCMJ.”

The Los Angeles Times published this report about the recently completed review of the Navy and Marine Corps legal communities, with the observation that while “the review mentions Gallagher once in its 273 pages, the timing of it leaves little doubt that Gallagher’s case, and Trump’s anger at the Navy over it, was a factor in the report.” The report also notes that the review “found systemic problems relating to other military law cases in addition to Gallagher’s.” But:

The Navy’s review did not address what a senior Navy official described as a crippling morale hit suffered by the Navy JAG Corps — and the Navy at large — after the president’s actions.

“Both the president’s and Richardson’s interventions impacted morale and people’s belief in themselves,” said the senior officer, who was not authorized to comment. “There is no certainty that leadership would have their backs. There was significant concern in the Navy, from (lieutenants to admirals), about Trump’s involvement and whether it would affect careers and how it would impact the military justice system.”

Adm. Robert Burke, vice chief of naval operations, declined to answer questions about the JAG morale issue when asked by the Union-Tribune during a Q&A session with reporters Friday.

He said that the Navy JAGs are “talented individuals.”

Finally, Stars and Stripes published this story about tomorrow’s oral argument at CAAF in United States v. Washington, No. 19-0252/AR (CAAFlog case page).

8 Responses to “Military Justice News for January 14, 2020”

  1. B777-300ER says:

    Oh yeah, sure!  That report and those who wrote it will almost certainly include a section on how President Orange Fanta decided to say “screw you! I’m totally going to further show you how little regard I hold the military services” and how that impacted morale and confidence of the Navy Judge Advocate community, especially seeing how he reacted to those who were involved in the case, or the message he sent by intervening the way he did.
    Totally understandable that this was a mere oversight….yeah right.

  2. Shawn says:

    So the LA Times (not a real newspaper) cites an anonymous “senior Navy official” (not a real source) who was parroting a talking point that they make in each and every day’s edition (not real news).
    Since when did “having someone’s back” mean supporting them even when they disagree with you and disrespect you?  Has the Swamp now expanded a mile south to include the Pentagon?
    Regardless of how you feel about Chief Eddie, it was not only the President’s option to intervene, it was also his duty.  You do not agree with what he did?  Suck it up.  He is your Commander-in-Chief.  Whether you agree with what he did does not matter.

  3. Vulture says:

    Hey Shawn.
    I would have been willing to wait til the Democratic Debate to hear something stupid.
    Now what the hell am I supposed to do for the rest of the evening?

  4. Tami a/k/a Princess Leia says:

    Well, let’s see, there’s
    1.  Barry–DJAG and SJA telling the convening authority to approve a wrongful sexual assault conviction to appease Congress and not “paint a target” on the convening authority’s back.
    2.  Salyer–trial counsel snooping through military judge’s personnel file to dig up “dirt” to orchestrate his recusal in a child pornography case where there wasn’t really a question that the images were of children.
    3.  4 Navy SEAL detainee abuse cases from 2012 dismissed due to “degradation” of evidence, has nothing to do with prosecutorial overreach
    4.  Gallagher–lead trial counsel removed from case by military judge due to prosecutorial misconduct.
    5.  Chamblin–NMCCA tosses out a GUILTY PLEA in the Marines urinating on dead Taliban case because Gen. Amos wanted to “crush them” and manipulated the process, which involved some bad legal advice from HQMC and JAD attorneys.
    6.  Lewis–another case of trial counsel manipulating the recusal of a military judge.
    But yeah, it’s all about Trump and this is all Trump’s fault for stepping in and putting an end to the nonsense in the Gallagher case.

  5. anonymous says:

    The report discussed potential or apparent divided loyalties by SJA’s advising GCMCA’s, but not having their job evaluations done by those same line commanders they advise.  Instead, since a change 10-15 years ago, GCMCA SJA fitreps are signed by RLSO CO’s who report to CNSLC/DJAG.  Assuming TJAG/DJAG/JAGC are sensitive to sexual assault charges (due to their close interaction with Congress or some other reason), then the SJA might feel or appear encouraged to recommend a particular path when advising GCMCA “independently”.  This might be implicated in Barry where Government attorney(s) filed whistleblower complaints (and one who disagreed with government position complained about his JAGC written fitness report).  If there was no institutional pressure by JAGC to lean advice a certain way, then SJA’s could have simply and traditionally have either: 1) advised CA to take the action he felt appropriate or 2) advised CA to pass the case up to the higher authority he felt was attempting to improperly influence him.  This is standard SJA advice covered by the Naval Justice School Advanced SJA Course.  If the SJA or Deputy SJA did not attend the Advanced SJA Course for GCMCA SJA’s then that would also explain the panels recommendation that the course be a mandatory pipeline course funded by JAGC before sending attorneys to report for duty as GCMCA SJA staff.  
    I believe the motivation for this report pre-dated the recent Gallagher discussions and is not meant to discuss sexual assault in the way most CAAFLOG readers desire.  Rather, it is probably more about Navy line leader’s frustrations with all the extended bad press, Navy leader firings, and inability to hold people accountable.  I’m making that assumption because the report listed their four focus areas as GDMA ethics, Benson bad advice, Barry UCI, and Gallagher prosecution mistakes – which must have been the verbal guidance they got along with the assignment back in August.  If that is correct, then this report is more about improving the Navy’s SJA advice than it is about how the Navy handles sexual assault cases.  I think this is what the report is addressing about when they recommend JAGs need to become more a part of the Navy line culture, act more like other Navy communities using lessons learned, standardized training and training centers, complete JPME, report directly to the line, and provide more Law Education Program attorneys (prior line officers who become attorneys).
    R.D.C. Did/do you represent a party or attorney to any of the Barry related issues? 

  6. stewie says:

    You do not agree with what he did?  Suck it up.  He is your Commander-in-Chief.  Whether you agree with what he did does not matter.

    Such a juvenile comment.

  7. Vulture says:

    Yes Tami, all of that.  And then signed into law further legislation facilitating the very things you mention as deficient.  Why? Because the money was good.  Truman said that the UCMJ was good, but needed work.  Where is the President’s calling on Congress to actually improve the UCMJ?  Who is trying to protect the servicemen and women, all of them, from things like no appeals, gutting of Grand Jury, UCI?  It’s not the Commander-in-Chief.

  8. Alfonso Decimo says:

    The best recommendation is for the Navy to immediately acquire a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) case management system (CMS). I also like the recognition that military justice has been under-resourced. For over 15 years, the Navy has been unable to develop a case management system, largely due to leadership failures. A COTS CMS should be preceded with enabling a single individual to overrule “requirements creep” and other barriers. A simple solution would be to just pay the USAF for their system, which works. As for under-resourcing military justice, Navy leadership has known about this problem for the same 15-year period, but throwing JAGs under the bus is cheaper and easier. JAG 2020 indeed!