On March 10, 2016 the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals upheld United States v. Jane Neubauer, United States Air Force. Is this another case of federal government overreach and denial of due process rights? I think John Q Public‘s assessment of this case speaks volumes of the real issues behind the Command directed prosecution of an airman who blew the whistle after being recruited as an Office of Special Investigations (OSI) confidential informant. The same OSI office she exposed ended up investigating and assisting with her prosecution. This is yet another example of the importance of letting an impartial law enforcement official and prosecutor make decisions about whether to investigate, who should investigate, who to investigate, and whether or not they have the evidence to move forward with a case. The moment a military member asks for an attorney, all criminal justice communications with Commanders and their investigators must cease. Every accused military member should be represented by counsel and afforded their due process rights throughout the entire investigation including collection of evidence. Learn more about your due process rights here.
“There have been many sexual assault accusations far less credible than the accusation made by this Airman. Many that were enthusiastically pursued by prosecutors despite their frailty … many that did not result in disciplinary actions when they were revealed to have been false.
So, what was so special about this accusation?
Well, she was an OSI informant, and the situation cast OSI in an extremely negative light at a time when the OSI informant program was already under fire. The same organization that recruited her right out of BMT to help investigate drug activity at Keesler AFB conducted the investigation that eventually resulted in her prosecution.
If she’s wrong … if she’s bad … if she’s a liar … then obviously she’s the problem. She’ll absorb the negative attention and culpability … leaving OSI and its shady actions in this debacle comfortably out of the limelight.
Another example of prosecutorial inconsistency and arbitrariness in the USAF … demonstrating that it’s not operating an impartial justice system, but a score-settling control device on behalf of the chain of command.” ~John Q Public
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.
Navy sailor Lea Anne Brown and her friend Michael Patten were found murdered execution style in Accokeek, near Fort Washington, Maryland on June 10, 2001. They were randomly selected in a church parking lot in Fort Washington by a group of men who wanted to rob them and steal their car. They beat Lea Anne and Michael and then stuffed them in the trunk of Michael’s car; afterwards they drove them to nearby Accokeek, fatally shot them in the head, and left their bodies in a wooded area. In 2002, Eric Thomas was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to life in prison. Aaron Hollingsworth received a 30 year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony. Cortez Carroll confessed to shooting Lea Anne and he faced the death penalty but plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Robert Odum, Jr. received 60 years in prison for two counts of kidnapping but was acquitted on the robbery and murder charges. And Marco Scutchings-Butler or Marco Butler was acquitted of the murders. in 2004, a Maryland Appellate court overturned the conviction for Robert Odum, Jr. and granted him a new trial because the court said Prince George’s police broke the rules. At Odum’s new trial in 2005, a Prince George’s County jury convicted him of two counts of kidnapping and he was sentenced to two terms of 30 years in prison. The judge ordered that his 30 year sentences be served consecutively in addition to a 10-year sentence he was serving for a separate carjacking.
Preview:Two dead, one of them a beautiful Navy sailor. Why does this case still haunt the agents who hunted the killer? -48 Hours NCIS