Up periscope

This is the 12th day that APF, LTC Lakin’s support site, has failed to post the military judge’s findings and conclusions, and advertises as “Breaking News,”  “Judge to Rules (sic) . . ..”

SFExaminer.com reports:

A Fort Stewart soldier charged with killing two members of his Army unit in 2008 is due back in court for a hearing on whether the military should pay for his defense team to travel to Iraq. . . . to interview Iraqi witnesses and investigated the crime scene.

Prosecutors have said the trip would be unnecessary.

I hope the trial counsel is not saying the trip’s unnecessary because the CID did such a great job.  Got one now where the CID has thoroughly spoiled the evidence through mishandling.

MYNorthwest reports (this is Ramrod Five related):

There is mounting evidence some of the soldiers might have been pressured into committing the crimes, according to attorney Eric Montalvo. A Gulf War veteran, Montalvo represents another one of the accused killers, Adam Winfield.

Montalvo claims there was a clear ringleader in the group: Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, who out-ranked the others in their unit in Afghanistan.

Seems like there’s a lot of finger pointing at SSgt Gibbs, characterized by the Winfield defense

“[I]n a serial killer, category.”


The Beverly Hills Courier reports on another “Veteran’s Court.”

Criminal cases against military veterans charged with nonviolent felonies will start to be heard by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge today.  The pilot program is meant to give a second chance to veterans who may have gotten into trouble due to conditions related to their service, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, brain injuries and other mental conditions.  Orange County has a similar program, which mirrors other veteran courts that have sprung up across the nation.

FayObserver.com reports:

A military judge has agreed to delay the court-martial of a Fort Bragg soldier accused in a series of rapes and break-ins on post and in Cumberland and Hoke counties, officials said.  The court-martial of Spc. Aaron M. Pernell, 23, of Tulsa, Okla., had been scheduled to start Sept. 27, according to court dockets.  Instead, a pre-trial hearing is scheduled for that day before military judge Col. Gary Brockington.  A spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division said Pernell’s lawyers requested the continuance.  The spokesman also said Brockington denied a request to move the trial to another military base.



DADT:  Off topic, but on topic for military justice developments.

AllHeadlineNews.com reports:

The trial of a woman discharged from the Air Force for her sexual orientation begins Monday, less than a week after a federal court declared as unconstitutional the military’s ban against gays serving openly.

The case of former Maj. Margaret Witt will begin proceedings before a federal district court in Tacoma. The lawsuit was originally dismissed but a federal appeals court returned it to the district court in 2008, saying the Air Force had to prove the dismissal was crucial to the “good order, morale and discipline” of personnel in Witt’s unit.

The Daily Weekly reports:

Someday, we’re all going to look back at this whole hunting-and-trapping-the-gays-out-of-the-military thing and just laugh. Or cry. Or both. But until that hypothetical enlightened age, there’s Major Margaret Witt, a decorated 19-year veteran of the Air Force whose lawsuit may help bring an end to “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

In 2004, the husband of a woman Witt was dating sent a note to the Air Force outing her as a lesbian. She would eventually be discharged three years later.

Witt sued, and now she finds herself in U.S. District Court in Tacoma with a chance to argue for her reinstatement. An argument that will center on whether or not her status as a lesbian “hurt morale and unit cohesion.”

A flight nurse at McChord, Witt was literally the Air Force’s poster child, as her face was used on the Nurse Corp’s promotional fliers. And a year before getting the boot, Witt received her second medal for saving the life of a Defense Department employee on a flight from Bahrain.

This New York Times piece reports:

Major Witt’s lawyers say former colleagues will testify that she was an effective leader and that her discharge, not her presence, hurt morale in her Reserves unit, the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Several of the witnesses say they suspected she was a lesbian but did not mind serving alongside her.

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