An update on the Pendleton search case

I posted at CAAFLog about a search conducted in the defense counsel offices at Camp Pendleton.

Here Marine Corps Times reports some of the fallout, including it looks like one of the photos we put up on CAAFLog.

In the wake of a controversial search of Camp Pendleton, California, defense attorneys’ offices by military investigators, the senior Marine prosecutor who planned the search has been ordered off a number of cases and reassigned to a new job.

In a June 10 ruling, military judge Lt. Col. Chris Thielemann found that the search on defense offices, instigated and overseen by the prosecution, constituted apparent unlawful command influence, meaning that a casual observer would have reason to believe the government had unduly interfered with the legal process, creating a potential disadvantage for defendants in ongoing cases.

Thielemann also disqualified Slabbekorn from participation in the case of Sgt. Ricardo Miramontes — an unrelated sex assault case proceeding this week with casefiles kept in the searched offices — and ordered that Slabbekorn not discuss the case with his legal team. Sources said judges have handed down similar rulings in two other cases with upcoming trial dates.

Apparently the judge further wrote:

“The appearance of UCI is even more of a concern in this particular case because [the Criminal Investigative Division] conducted an extensive, overly broad, and poorly executed search of unrelated defense counsel offices, especially when it was clear to a reasonable observer that the agents had seized the phone in question prior to entering the lead defense counsel’s office,” Thielemann wrote. “Undoubtedly, such a heavy-handed and overly intrusive raid … would further exacerbate concerns about the fairness of these proceedings.”

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