The Superintendent of the US Naval Academy referred charges for what is alleged to be a non-consensual threesome between a Naval Academy instructor and two female Mids after the annual USNA-St. Johns croquet match in April 2011. ABC News reports, here and the Baltimore Sun, here, report that the Supe referred sexual assault and other charges against Marine Corps Major Mark Thompson to a general court-martial.

The military judge in the SSGT Robert Bales case set Sep. 3, 2013 as a trial date. See AP (via WaPo) report here. Bales’ counsel called the date “very unrealistic.” Bales is accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians outside a US base on March 11, 2012. AP reports that Bales counsel also said:

Browne said the judge has scheduled questioning of potential jurors to begin Aug. 19,and dates for pre-trial motions to be filed and argued April 23-26 and June 4-7.

Browne and co-counsel Emma Scanlan have each traveled to Afghanistan to investigate the case,but Browne insists another trip by at least one member of the defense team would be necessary before the trial.

One hurdle to that is financial,he said. He has repeatedly noted that his firm is working for Bales for free —Bales also has appointed military defense counsel.

If Browne can’t raise the money for another trip to Afghanistan,he said,his firm might have to withdraw from the case —which,he noted,could set the trial back more than a year.

Military judge COL James Pohl put an end to remote silencing of military commission proceedings reports the NYT, here. The article also discusses efforts underway to deal with material support for terrorism and conspiracy charges in the case, which have come into question since the DC Circuit’s ruling in Hamdan and Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins statements that he thinks those charges should not be pursued by the commissions.

3 Responses to “Military Justice News for Feb. 1, 2013”

  1. k fischer says:

    Regarding US v. Thompson, the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense have come out with some pretty strong statements aimed directly at the Naval Academy:
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asked military service academies for a “strong and immediate response.”
    In December, following the release of the Defense Department report, Mabus said he was “deeply troubled” by the results, particularly as they related to the Naval Academy.
    He cited results showing more than 60 percent of female midshipmen and 10 percent of male midshipmen were sexually harassed during the academic year.
    “In fact,” Mabus said in a statement, “I am angry about those results.”

    These statements were made before January 8, 2013, (before Thompson’s Article 32 closed) and Thompson’s case has now been referred to Court Martial.  Does anyone know what the 32 IO recommended on the nonconsensual charges?  If it was that those charges do not go forward, then I think you have a pretty good argument for the appearance of UCI.  In fact, with all the statements that are being made by the top leadership regarding sexual assault in general, any case that goes forward after the IO recommends that it does not should probably be investigated for UCI to see if the comments have any effect on the referral decision, such as in US v. Sinclair.
    Based on the news report in this case, it sounds like the IO could get over the probable cause hurdle notwithstanding the strip poker game.  The news reports indicate that Stadler testified the accuser was too inebriated to continue drinking, so she switched to water, and at some point after going to Thompson’s bedroom, went to the bathroom to throw up.  Sounds like she was in a passed out or blacked out state, which objectively Thompson might should have known she was too drunk to consent if he knew she switched to water.   

  2. SeaLawyer says:

    The IO recommended that the non-consensual charges go forward.

  3. SFC V says:

    Were both of them too drunk too consent?  If not didn’t the other mid possibly committ a sexual assault as well.  Why should she be spared prosecution?  But no one will raise any stink about letting that perpetrator walk. 
    If it would have been two guys assaulting a women, one might, might get a deal but I doubt it would amount to complete immunity.