Top Marine Gen. James Amos is accused of interfering in sex assault, desecration cases

A military judge did something extraordinary last summer when he ordered the Marine Corps‘ top officer to submit sworn statements in a sexual assault case. The answers from the commandant, Gen. James F. Amos, have some in Marine legal circles wondering whether he told the full truth.

Gen. Amos, a Joint Chiefs of Staff member, faces charges from defense attorneys that his words and actions have unleashed a wave of unlawful command influence over jurors who venerate the commandant.

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Marine’s conviction for rape of Kentucky woman overturned

marinesexassaultoverturned

Stephen Howell, US Marine Corps

In its May 22 ruling, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals said Commandant Gen. James Amos’ push against sexual assault was unlawful command influence. The court set aside the 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., that was handed down in October 2012 to Staff Sgt. Stephen P. Howell. He was convicted in a military court trial at Parris Island, S.C., of rape, forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges involving a Lexington, Ky., woman.

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UCMJ: 837. ART. 37. UNLAWFULLY INFLUENCING ACTION OF COURT

(a) No authority convening a general, special, or summary court-martial, nor any other commanding officer, may censure, reprimand, or admonish the court or any member, military judge, or counsel thereof, with respect to the findings or sentence adjudged by the court, or with respect to any other exercises of its or his functions in the conduct of the proceedings. No person subject to this chapter may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts. The foregoing provisions of the subsection shall not apply with respect to (1) general instructional or informational courses in military justice if such courses are designed solely for the purpose of instructing members of a command in the substantive and procedural aspects of courts-martial, or (2) to statements and instructions given in open court by the military judge, president of a special court-martial, or counsel.

(b) In the preparation of an effectiveness, fitness, or efficiency report on any other report or document used in whole or in part for the purpose of determining whether a member of the armed forces is qualified to be advanced, in grade, or in determining the assignment or transfer of a member of the armed forces or in determining whether a member of the armed forces should be retained on active duty, no person subject to this chapter may, in preparing any such report (1) consider or evaluate the performance of duty of any such member, as counsel, represented any accused before a court-martial.

Honor and Deception, A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward (USAFA, 2013)

Facing pressure to combat drug use and sexual assault at the Air Force Academy, the Air Force has created a secret system of cadet informants to hunt for misconduct among students.

Cadets who attend the publicly-funded academy near Colorado Springs must pledge never to lie. But the program pushes some to do just that: Informants are told to deceive classmates, professors and commanders while snapping photos, wearing recording devices and filing secret reports.

For one former academy student, becoming a covert government operative meant not only betraying the values he vowed to uphold, it meant being thrown out of the academy as punishment for doing the things the Air Force secretly told him to do.

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AFA’s Cooks convicted in sexual assault case, booted from military (2013)

An Air Force Academy cadet has been convicted by a court martial panel on a sexual assault charge and kicked out of the military.

Air Force Academy cadet Jamil Cooks, who pleaded guilty last week to unlawfully entering women’s dorm rooms at the academy, was convicted by a court martial panel on a charge of abusive sexual contact, the academy announced Sunday morning.

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Gazette confirms former Air Force Academy cadet’s account (2013)

When former Air Force Academy cadet Eric Thomas faced a disciplinary board in August 2012, a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations said he would come to explain how Thomas worked dozens of cases as a confidential informant and had been of great service to the Air Force.

The agent never showed up, and Thomas was expelled from the academy eight months later. On Friday, an active-duty member of the Air Force Academy with direct knowledge of the case said the agent, Brandon Enos, did not show up because he was told not to by the local OSI commander, Lt. Col. Vasaga Tilo.

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