Lawyers for MAJ Nidal Hasan have asked to take over his defense or diminish their roles because they say their client has a death wish. WaPo reports here on yet another delay in the trial as military judge COL Tara Osborn attempts to sort it out. Here (Tues) and here (Wed) are links to LA Times coverage of some of the testimony in the case so far.

Members’ selection in the BG Jeffrey Sinclair court-martial continues today. FayObs report here. Five members have reportedly been selected so far.

Sentencing continues in the PFC Manning case. Yesterday’s testimony coverage can be found here (Reuters). Military judge COL Denise Lind ruled that some government evidence reltated to the chilling effect on US diplomacy was inadmissible, so she won’t consider it in sentencing, AP (via WaPo) coverage here.

And yet another general is in trouble, or at least was in trouble. See report from WaPo here on the ethical violations committed by the former CG for the Eighth Army in South Korea.

8 Responses to “Military Justice News for Aug. 8, 2013”

  1. paleo says:

    Unbelievable. I can’t imagine an E-3, E-7, O-1 or O-4 getting away with things MG(ret) Fil got away with. Retired at the rank of O-8 – no discipline, no loss of benefits, no consequences. A good bit of The Joint Ethics Regulation is punitive. If memory serves me correctly, that part about taking gifts and money is among the punitive parts. Some snapshots from the article:
    “Fil told investigators that he accepted the gifts in “good conscience,” believing that they were legal because the giver was a longtime personal friend. Investigators cast doubt on that explanation, however, noting that the South Korean did not speak English and that Fil had to communicate with him by “using hand and arm signals.”
    Ironically, Fil had been officially tapped in November 2010 to become the Army’s inspector general…
    What happened to Fil after that remains a bit of a mystery. His official Army biography does not list any duties for him between November 2010 and September 2011, when he was assigned as a special assistant to the Army’s vice chief of staff.
    …Army Secretary John McHugh approved the decision to have Fil retire as a two-star general “after weighing the substantiated allegations of misconduct . . . against an otherwise long and distinguished career.” The Army took no other disciplinary measures against Fil, Army officials said.”
    To be fair to the esteemed general, I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t have a dozen or so very close friends that can’t communicate in the same language. I mean, I see 20 or 30 people a day out on the street just waving their arms around, having a great conversation with a pal. Perhaps he was just putting FM 21-60 into practice. 
    He was set to be THE IG for the Army. Wonderful, awesome. 
    He had no job for a year. A year! And got paid huge general officer money for that vacation. Then moved on to the arduous position as special assistant, where he likely had about a dozen assistants himself. 
    Substantiated allegations of misconduct – no discipline. The next time some poor Private is run out of the Army for patterns of misconduct because his uniform is jacked up and he’s late to formation a few times, maybe the SecArmy can call his company commander and put in a good word for him.
    I know that finding a court-martial panel for a GO is problematic, but it’s time to start dealing with that problem. 

  2. johnny says:

    Paleo – the adverse administrative action he received by retiring as an O-8 instead of O-9 was punishment enough.  Your average Soldier in that situation would not have been court-martialed or chaptered either.  At most they would have received an Article 15.  If they returned the items like he did, a reprimand is probably appropriate.  And he very well may have received some type of reprimand.  Ethics rules should of course be followed, but we don’t send people to jail or prevent them from retiring given these facts.  By your high standard, Virginia would have their governor and AG in jail (if the JER applied to them). 

  3. Charlie Gittins says:

    Paleo:  Well, I for one believe that the Virginia Governor should face some sanction, and I would not rule out a criminal sanction, but for the fact that the Virginia conflict of interest and gift statutes are written to permit such blatantly inappropriate behavior.  It’s business as usual in Virginia politics, unfortunately.

  4. johnny says:

    At least we aren’t Illinois…

  5. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Mark Steyn takes aim at US v Hasan.  Bonus points if you know what pogonophobia means without having to look it up.

  6. stewie says:

    I get that we are all of divers (and diverse) political persuasions here but certainly we can all agree that Mr. Steyn’s article is…less than erudite?

  7. paleo says:

    Johnny…1) court-martial does not equate to jail, but it’s a heck of a lot more visible than this presumed administrative action / reprimand. We don’t even know if that was actually done. If he didn’t have enough time as a LTG, he would retire at MG anyway, if I’m straight on how that works. 2) He received  or took about $5000 in merchandise and funds. Not often is a junior enlisted member in the position to get such perks, so this is not a perfect analogy but can you imagine if E-3 Jones stole $500 from another Soldier? Or if he pocketed BAH money without giving it to a spouse? You get my meaning here…that young Soldier would go Art15 at a minimum. And it wouldn’t be hidden from view like MG Fil. I saw an E-3 in the Navy go to Captain’s Mast for taking a female’s purse, which had about $40 in it. 3) I’m not saying he should have been prevented from retiring, but how about this: he goes to court-martial, reprimanded and found guilty by a panel, is then reduced to COL and retires, after paying the money back of course. That would seem fair and reasonable. At that rank, you know he’s purged people from the service for far less than what he did. The least the SecArmy can do is show the rest of the force that the rules apply. 
    I understand concerns about fielding a panel, about the time and expense of such matters when they can be handled in an alternate fashion. But, if justice is to be done, it must be seen to have been done. 
    What were the real consequences he faced? 
    By no means am I advocating a witch hunt, but misconduct by general officers is going to have to be addressed, in a meaningful way, in the open.

  8. Some Army Guy says:

    Court-martial a two-star for some relatively minor ethics violations?  That would be a witch hunt and a huge drain on both JA and Army-wide GO resources.