Military Justice System Headed Down Same Path as Healthcare

“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, then-deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

To my knowledge, President Barack Obama hasn’t said that yet — at least, not in public. But the military justice system seems to be headed down the same path as the nation’s healthcare system.

Unlike the debate regarding healthcare, the debate about the need for military justice reforms involves people in positions of power (i.e., President Obama and members of Congress) who have absolutely no concept of what is necessary in a military justice system, because they have never served. Led by people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), they advocate steps that will only worsen an already-flawed system.

One person who seems to understand what’s at stake is Patti Fruit, a resident of the Fayetteville, N.C., area near Fort Bragg. While I don’t agree with everything she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer about the headline-making outcome of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair’s court-martial, I do agree with the following point she made:

“Yes, he admits to adultery with underlings, but why military women who have achieved rank did not have the honor and courage to report the general’s advances from the beginning is a question that needs addressing.”

What was the outcome of General Sinclair’s case? Sexual assault charges against him were dropped after political influence, in lieu of facts, was cited as the driving force behind a higher-ranking general’s decision to prosecute Sinclair.

One-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite Ms. Fruit, members of The New York Times Editorial Board revealed in a letter published today that they don’t have a clue about the military justice system.  Their lack of a “clue” is illustrated in the two paragraphs highlighted below:

The deal followed a stunning ruling by a military judge last week suggesting that by holding out for more severe punishment, and by rejecting an earlier plea deal, the senior Army officer overseeing the prosecution might have been improperly influenced by political considerations in bringing the most severe charges against the general because of a desire to show new resolve in the military against sexual misconduct. The prosecution had also been badly shaken by revelations that the general’s accuser may have lied under oath.

The episode offers a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system, which gives commanding officers with built-in conflicts of interest — rather than trained and independent military prosecutors outside the chain of command — the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.

The Times Editorial Board’s description of this week’s happenings in the case as “a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system” is about as truthful as any of President Obama’s promises concerning the so-called Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”).

Three Days In August by Bob McCarty

Click on image above to order book.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” the president said.  We all know how long that promise lasted.

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the president said.  Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost coverage since ObamaCare went “live.”

“We’re going to work with employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” the president said.

Rather than telling us “If you like your military, you can keep your military,” it appears President Obama and his sycophants on The Left are determined to dismantle it without asking for input from anyone else and without regard for or our nation’s security.  In short, the military justice system seems destined toward the same fate as healthcare and, sadly, Republicans in Congress seem to lack the wherewithal (a.k.a., “spines”) to do anything about it.If Americans don’t stand up and demand their politicians stop meddling with the military, then they’ll deserve the military that’s left standing.  And it won’t be pretty.  Or, for that matter, an effective fighting force.

To learn more about sexual assault prosecutions in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about the case involving Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August, the nonfiction book in which I chronicle his life story and wrongful conviction in a U.S. military courtroom in Germany.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

War on Men in the Military: Cases Shockingly Similar

While reading a WRAL.com article today, I couldn’t help but notice similarities between the sexual assault prosecutions of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair and Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose wrongful conviction is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is shown near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

One example can be found in the three paragraphs that follow an explanation of how the military judge in the case decided to prosecute despite a recommendation from the lead prosecutor that General Sinclair’s plea to a charge of adultery be accepted.  The example begins in paragraph four as follows:

The defense contends that the captain, who served with Sinclair in Iraq and Afghanistan, committed perjury in a January hearing about finding text messages form Sinclair on an old cellphone, making her a poor witness on which to build a case against the general.

The captain said in the January hearing that she came across the old phone in December and charged it up to see if there was anything on it that would affect Sinclair’s court-martial. A defense forensics expert contradicted her testimony, saying she had turned the phone on several times in the months before she said she found it packed in a box.

The defense argues in the motion that the Army continues to press the case only to support a get-tough policy against sex assault in the military.

Notice the word, perjury, and how a forensics expert proved it?  Apparently, perjury by a female in a military sexual assault case isn’t cause for concern.

In the case of Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran, several instances of perjury surfaced during and after his court-martial.

Read the reviews.

Read the reviews.

Two that surfaced during the trial involved a German police detective and a taxi driver whose memory issues are highlighted in the article, German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

One arose during the pre-sentencing phase and involved the accuser offering a strange definition of “contact.”

Yet another was brought to the court’s attention by a long-time friend of the accuser who made a post-trial statement that should have netted Stewart a new trial.

I, for one, can’t wait to read the trial transcript if or when General Sinclair’s case reaches the trial phase.  Why?  Because I suspect it will be as chock full of half-truths, lies and innuendo as Stewart’s trial was as the War on Men in the Military continues.

UPDATE 3/16/2014 at 8:11 p.m. Central:  Sexual assault charges dropped against general after case tainted by political influence.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

DoD War on Men: Comparing Messages Sent by Accusers

Today, as part of my continuing series about the Department of Defense War on Men, I compare the handling of evidence in military court-martial cases to the handling of similar evidence during the prosecution of a civilian sexual assault case making news in West Virginia Ohio.

ABC News broadcast a story today about the case of two Steubenville, Ohio W.Va., high school football players who stand accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she was drunk at an “alcohol-fueled party” the night of Aug. 11, 2012.  If the report is reliable, then it appears prosecutors will rely heavily upon text messages and mobile phone photos exchanged by party attendees — and, perhaps, others — as they pursue guilty verdicts against the 16- and 17-year-old boys who stand accused.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life story and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, probably would have benefited from having members of his court-martial panel made aware of some text messages sent by his accuser.  But it didn’t happen.  Instead, the highly-decorated combat veteran was convicted of a handful of sexual assault-related crimes and sentenced to eight years confinement at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Several months later, however, Sergeant Stewart’s defense team had the rare opportunity to present new testimony during a post-trial hearing in Germany.  During that hearing, many people testified, essentially calling out the 28-year-old German woman who had accused the Solider of raping and kidnapping her in his Stuttgart hotel room as a liar.

Did it get him a new trial?  No.

Not even the testimony of Tamara Buehler, a woman who had known the accuser for more than 10 years as a friend, housemate and employer, earned him a new trial.  She reported receiving a text message from the accuser within 24 hours of the night she spent with Sergeant Stewart.

In the text message, Buehler said, the accuser described a lecherous night during which she “found my master.”  Of course, she took this to mean that there was sex of the sadomasochist type and noted that there was no talk of something happening that the accuser did not like.  And that wasn’t all!  Buehler also stated that the accuser had claimed her encounter with Sergeant Stewart was “great SEX.”

Incredibly, the military judge ignored the testimony of Buehler and several others who combined to paint a portrait of the accuser as a woman who had had sex with at least two more men between the day she met Sergeant Stewart and the start of the court-martial proceedings.  Her testimony takes on additional weight when one realizes the accuser had testified during the trial that she could no longer be around men after her night with the Soldier.  More details here.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

Now to a more recent case — that of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair; if he receives the same treatment as Sergeant Stewart, he’s likely to receive an even longer prison sentence.

In what appears to be a smart move, however, General Sinclair’s defense team has gone on the offensive, launching a website, Sinclair Innocence, where one can read important details about the case which, for the most part, seems to be going unreported by mainstream news media outlets.

Under the tab, The Truth Behind the Case, several questions appear along with answers that tilt in favor of the accused general.  Two paragraphs from the bottom of the page, links to journal entries and text messages — described as having been sent by the accuser to General Sinclair — appear to reveal much about the consensual nature of their relationship.  If genuine, the documents also seem to shed much light on the mental state of the general’s accuser.

While it will be interesting to see how the case of the high school football players turns out, I will be more interested in General Sinclair’s case, hoping to see evidence of fairness and truth in the midst of DoD’s War on Men.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Some Guys Have All the Luck

A former Air Force officer, I’ve always been under the impression that military officers lead by example and be held to a higher standard than enlisted people.  If or when officers fail, they should be punished more severely than their enlisted counterparts.  And then I read this article about Army Col. James Johnson III.

Col. James Johnson III

As commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, he was not only entrusted with the welfare of thousands of soldiers and their families, but also with millions of dollars worth of resources, including cold, hard cash while members of the unit were deployed to Iraq.  He violated that trust, according to the article, by engaging in a pattern of fraudulent activities that could have cost the U.S. government more than $580,000.  And, oh yeah, he committed adultery, wrongful cohabitation and bigamy with an Iraqi woman who was not his wife (duh!).

What did the West Point graduate get for his bad behavior?  A reprimand, a $300,000 fine and the prospect of spending five years behind bars if he fails to pay the fine.

Considering the alternatives, I’d say his future looks relatively bright.  He was NOT dismissed from the Army, NOT sentenced to forfeit pay and allowances, NOT required to spend any time behind bars AND he gets to keep his full military retirement!  Not bad.  Some guys have all the luck!

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

And then there’s the case of Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the soldier whose life and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

Though he admitted to having a consensual one-night stand with a German woman inside his Stuttgart hotel room in August 2008, he faced a court-martial panel one year later, was convicted of a variety of sexual offenses and sentenced to eight years behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  And that’s not all!

He was also stripped of his Special Forces tab, reduced in rank to private, ordered discharged from the Army upon completion of his sentence and — last, but not least — branded with the “sex offender” label for the rest of the life if military justice continues to elude him via the appeals process.

Most disturbing about this highly-decorated combat veteran’s conviction is that it came despite a complete lack of any physical evidence, despite a complete lack of eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes and only after his accuser — supported by German government officials — refused to provide the court with copies of her medical records that would have shown she had a history of mental illness.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days in August paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

After you order a copy of Three Days In August, please click on this link to learn more about my upcoming second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. It, too, will make your blood boil  Thanks in advance!

Green Beret Never Thought He’d Be Going to Prison

Three years ago this month, Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart found himself under the microscope of an Article 32 investigation with Army officials purportedly trying to determine whether charges — including rape and kidnapping, among others — alleged against him warranted any legal action.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart

It was during this hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing in the civilian world, that the highly-decorated combat veteran learned for the first time the identity of his accuser — a then-28-year-old German woman with whom he had had a one-night stand nine months earlier inside his room at the Stuttgart-Marriott Hotel.

Embarrassed that it was taking place, Stewart attended the hearing accompanied only by his lawyers, Captain Oren Gleich and civilian attorney David Court.  On the other side of the room, his accuser was accompanied only by her mother and the German state prosecutor.

Though he knew the charges alone had the potential to ruin his career, Stewart didn’t think he would be going to prison. After all, he had done none of the things she alleged him to have done.

If you’re wondering, at this point, how this story turned out, you can find all of the details are in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Also, be sure to check out details of my next book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.  It connects the dots between the deaths of dozens of Americans at the hands of our so-called “allies” in Afghanistan and a memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr., the man who now serves as Director of National Intelligence, our nation’s highest intelligence position.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Soldier Deserves Chance to Clear Name

Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, needs one of two things to happen — and soon — so that he can clear his name and reputation.

Stewart would be pleased if the Army Court of Criminal Appeals that heard his appeal April 19 exonerated him completely or if they granted him a new trial.  And if you think the latter doesn’t sound appealing to Stewart, I can tell you you’re wrong.  After all, the likelihood that a second court-martial panel might reach the same guilty verdict as the first one did in German during three days in August 2009 is incredibly slim.  Case observers expect some kind of result by mid-July — possibly sooner, possibly later.

Stewart would also be pleased if his accuser came forward and admitted that she made up the sordid tale of sexual assault that lead to Stewart being convicted on several charges and sent to the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  Such a move by the young woman, now in her early 30s would not be unprecedented.

According to this article, published today, the kidnap-rape conviction of Brian Banks, a once-promising prep football star in Southern California, was dismissed Thursday following a recantation by his accuser ten years after she had turned his world upside down.

Details about all of the events leading up to and following Stewart’s court-martial can be found in the book, Three Days In August.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

UPDATE 5/31/12 at 8:53 a.m. Central:  According to an ESPN report, Banks is being offered tryouts by several NFL teams.  A second chance.  The kind of second chance Stewart deserves.

Military Justice ‘Ball’ Bounces In Many Different Directions

Help me out.  I’m having a difficult time reconciling Air Force decision-making with Army decision-making.  In short, it seems the “ball” that is military justice bounces in many different directions.

First, take a look at the excerpt below from a Stars and Stripes article about the Air Force decision-making process following one officer’s child-molestation conviction:

An officer convicted this summer of molesting a 10-year-old could still be kicked out of the military after avoiding a dismissal during sentencing.

Maj. Brandon Smith, 36, pleaded guilty to “assault consummated by battery with a minor” for licking the child’s buttocks while she slept and a slew of other charges including assault, drunk and disorderly conduct and conduct that discredits the armed forces. The charges stem from a night of partying in July 2007 in which Smith also attacked two junior enlisted airmen.

TDIA_Promo_Photo-300x224Next, consider what happened to Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart during three days in August 2009.

Despite a lack of both physical evidence and/or eyewitnesses to the crimes allegedly committed by Stewart against a German woman, it took only two days for the panel to find the highly-decorated combat veteran Green Beret guilty of numerous sex offenses and another day for them to sentence him to eight years behind bars.  And at no point, it seems, did Army officials debate whether or not Stewart would remain in uniform after serving out his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Though I have no insider information about the Air Force officer’s case, the content of the article leads me to believe his case is being handled badly on many levels.  Of course, he should not remain in uniform!

Conversely, the Army NCO should have never been convicted.  I explain why in my book, Three Days in August.  Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from Stewart’s actual Record of Trial, it paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Army Judge Violates Soldier’s Constitutional Rights

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, provides graphic details of then-Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s time on the run after being wrongfully-convicted of a number of sexual offenses by a U.S. Army court-martial panel in Germany during three days in August 2009.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Prior to the start of the trial, attorneys for both sides met with Judge Kuhfahl in conference to discuss whether or not the subject of accuser Heinrich’s medical records from a lengthy stay at a mental institution in 2004 could be raised during the trial.

“We do not want them talking about this mental institution, that Helga was there, or that the victim stayed in that mental institution,” said Captain O’Malley, trying to convince Judge Kuhfahl to side with the government. “We do not believe that’s relevant to any of the charges about where they met or that they stayed in an institution in 2004 or 2005, under the facts of this case.”

Who is Helga? Helga Gowar is a woman Heinrich met during her four-month stay in a mental institution where both were patients in 2004.

“We have no knowledge beyond what we were told by the victim as to the reason for that stay,” Court countered on Stewart’s behalf.

“We believe that her mental state is always in issue. We believe that her response to stress, which is apparently her stated reason for going to that institution, is in issue here.”

Unfortunately for Stewart, Heinrich invoked her rights under German law to not disclose her medical records. Likewise, the German government refused to release copies of Heinrich’s medical records and spelled out the reasons for their decision in a
letter:

Due to other obligations we are unable to exercise the right to observe the court-martial on 18 and 19 August 2009 in Vilseck.

Your request to obtain the treatment records of Klinik Christophsbad, Faurndauer Strasse 6-28, 73035 Goeppingen for the victim Greta J. Heinrich in the years 2004 and 2005 by court-order cannot be granted.

Even if you assume, with the dominant opinion, that there is no prohibition of seizure, in accordance with section 97, paragraph 1 German Trial Procedural Code (StPO), then, under the given circumstances, forcible access of Health Records by procedural methods against the will of the victim, would have to be considered, under general maxims, in violation of the principle of proportionality in a special sensitive area of the private sphere.

In the absence of a (currently missing) concrete claim of evidence and basis in fact, such an action would only serve the non-permissible purpose of baseless inquiry of the victim and the hoped for discovery of relevant circumstances (see Federal Supreme Court Decision NStZ 1997, 562).

The fact that the trial was taking place in a U.S. military court based upon U.S. law (i.e., the Uniform Code of Military Justice) seemed not to matter to Judge Kuhfahl.

Asked by Judge Kuhfahl why they objected to the prospect of him allowing the defense to ask Heinrich why she was refusing to turn over her medical records, Captain O’Malley said, “There’s no relevance shown by that at all, Your Honor.”

Conversely, Court argued that the question “goes to candor with the tribunal” and said, “She has obviously got something that she wishes to withhold, and without that question, the panel will not have that impression of her; will think that she has been candid and told us everything, and that is not true.”

Judge Kuhfahl ruled as follows, saying, “The court does not find that there’s any matter of consequence that that question would address, indicating anything is more or less probable in this case; therefore, the government objection is sustained, and I’m not going
to allow that question.”

Stewart and his attorneys were stumped by the military judge’s ruling.

“It’s my Constitutional right to have all evidence looked at, or all items looked at, by a judge,” Stewart said. “Nothing becomes evidence until the judge deems it as evidence, but a judge still has to review it to determine whether it’s evidence or not.

“If the judge chooses not to look at a particular item to determine whether it’s evidence or not, then he’s violated my Constitutional rights,” Stewart explained, reiterating that Judge Kuhfahl had failed him by not petitioning or subpoenaing Heinrich’s medical records.

“He would still determine whether those records were relevant or not, whether they would be admissible or not—that’s still up to him,” Stewart explained. “If I’m saying there was possible evidence there, he has to protect my rights as the accused to look at that to
determine whether it is or isn’t.

“He didn’t do that,” Stewart said. “That’s where he violated my rights.”

Panel members never got to hear about Heinrich’s stay in a mental institution. They only got to hear from Heinrich that she was there as a victim of burnout. A major victory for the
government.

“There was never a discussion about what Greta was in (the mental institution) for,” Stewart said. “She testified that she was only in for simple ‘burnout,’ but she would never provide her medical records (and) the jurors never got to know that.

“If I was a juror,” Stewart said, “and I found out that this chick was saying that someone had raped her, that she had spent time in a mental institution… and now she’s saying that this American service member…is being accused of rape, it would add a shadow of doubt in my mind and any normal person’s mind.”

More details about the events leading up to and following Stewart’s court-martial can be found in the book, Three Days In August.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Newspaper Sits on Truth About Green Beret’s Bogus Conviction

Kelly A. Stewart

ON AUGUST 20, 2009, Stars and Stripes editors were understandably quick to publish Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s mugshot after he was convicted and sentenced by a court-martial panel during three days in August 2009.  Since then, however, they have been unwilling to publish details of what actually took place inside a U.S. military courtroom in German and resulted in the wrongful conviction of a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.

ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS AGO, I was interviewed by John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based reporter for the 70-year-old publication for members of the U.S. military community in Europe.  The subject of the interview was the book I had written and published last fall about Stewart’s life and wrongful conviction, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

FIFTY-TWO DAYS LATER, it became clear that Stripes editors were not interested in publishing the nitty-gritty details of the case.

In a Feb. 27 post, I speculated about several possible reasons why they had yet to run an article based on the interview.  Among the reasons I cited was the fact that Vandiver, through no fault of his own, was unable to land the extensive interviews with key players or obtain a copy of the Record of Trial — two things that make my book about Stewart’s case so captivating at the same time as it dismantled the prosecution’s case against the soldier.

ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS after my interview with Vandiver, Stripes continues to sit on the story about my book and, in turn, continues to sit on the facts underlying his wrongful conviction, many of which were never heard by members of the 10-member court-martial panel that heard the case.

TODAY, on the day Stewart’s case went before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Stripes published a 400-word piece, Ex-Green Beret begins appeal of sex assault conviction.  Unfortunately for those who hunger for the truth, the article made no mention of the book or the fact that its author — yours truly — had been interviewed about it almost six months ago.

WHAT AM I TO THINK NOW?

I’m convinced Stripes editors are content running interference for a system that wrongfully convicted an elite soldier based almost solely on the words of an accuser with a history of mental issues that were never allowed to surface during the trial.  Apparently, they don’t fear being held responsible when tens of thousands of members of the military eventually learn about Stewart’s case and realize, “That could’ve been me!”

Want to find out what Stripes editors are not willing to share with you?  Read Three Days In August, a book that paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

UPDATE 4/20/12 at 12:33 p.m. Central:  This morning, I attempted to leave a comment below the above-referenced story published by Stripes yesterday.  Hopefully, by Monday morning, the site’s moderator will have approved my comment.

UPDATE 12/28/2012 at 9:43 a.m. Central:  Five days ago, I shared a new observation about the latest Stripes article on Stewart’s case.  It’s a doozie.  See German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

Details of DoD ‘Witch Hunt’ Offered in Latest Report

By releasing the FY 2011 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military on a Friday, Department of Defense officials must have secretly hoped no one in the news media would notice.  A couple of days have passed since its release, but I noticed.  More importantly, I suspect others — including Sergeant 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart — probably noticed as well.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Stewart paid a heavy price after being convicted of a bevy of charges, including sexual assault, against a 28-year-old German woman.  Among other things, that price included a court-martial conviction during three days in August 2009 that was followed by an eight-year prison sentence, recommendation of a dishonorable discharge and, most importantly, an end to the career of this highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.

Rather than look at the new two-page report by itself, I decided to look at DoD’s last four years of annual reports to see if any trends surfaced.  I began with the report from Fiscal Year 2008, the year Stewart allegedly committed the crimes, and ended with the FY2011 report:


FY 2008 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2008, according to the FY 2008 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 832 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 317 courts-martial (or 38%), 247 nonjudicial punishments (or 30%) and 268 administrative actions and discharges (or 32%).

FY 2009 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2009, according to the FY 2009 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 983 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 410 courts-martial (or 42%), 351 nonjudicial punishments (or 36%) and 222 administrative actions and discharges (or 23%).

FY 2010 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2010, according to the FY 2010 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 1,025 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 529 courts-martial (or 52%), 256 nonjudicial punishments (or 25%) and 242 administrative actions and discharges (or 24%).

FY 2011 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2010, according to the FY 2010 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 791 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 489 courts-martial (or 62%), 187 nonjudicial punishments (or 24%) and 115 administrative actions and discharges (or 15%).

Note 1:  Percentages for each year are rounded up and may total more than 100 percent.  Note 2:  Links to PDFs of the annual reports listed below can be found at http://www.sapr.mil/index.php/annual-reports.

ANALYSIS:  Though the overall number of cases dropped in FY 2011, the percentage of cases that went to court-martial has increased every year.

Toward the end of the news release about the report, which includes a lengthy “to-do” list of additional sexual assault prevention initiatives on the horizon, a comment from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appears:

“As this report makes clear, we have more work to do to confront this problem.  There are no easy answers, but that makes it all the more essential for us to devote our energy and our attention to trying to confront this challenging crime.”

In other words, “Full steam ahead, justice be damned!”

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of Stewart and paints a grim portrait of how he became a victim of the sexual assault witch hunt that’s been taking place within DoD since 2007.

Please read the reviews, then buy a copy and spread the word.  Thanks in advance!

FYI:  Please pray for Stewart and his family as he faces another appeal hearing Thursday morning at Fort Belvoir, Va.  For more details, read my post, Soldiers’ Hearings to Take Place Four Days Apart in April.