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May 2019
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The Navy – perhaps other services – are doing a disservice to individuals with PTSD.  Their “records review” tends to contradict applicants who come to military corrections boards by saying there is little or no evidence of PTSD in the veteran’s medical records.

Military Defender has prepared an extensive brief encountering this questionable claim, which is often called the “Goldwater issue.”  The brief, extensively researched, analyzes five major aspects.

Great Info From The Military Defender!

WHERE ARE THE FEMALE MARINES?  Awhile back, DOD ordered the Marine Corps to open all combat arms career fields to women.  Less than 100 have successfully entered the former male-only specialties.

AIRCRAT CARRIER VISITS VIETNAM.   The Carl Vinson recently visited the Vietnamese port of Da Nang – the first visit there by a US carrier in more than four decades, according to Navy Times. 

VETERANS SUE SEA SERVICE.  Iraq and Afghanistan Navy/Marine Corps veterans with mental health problems were unfairly given less-than-honorable discharges by the Navy, preventing them from getting VA benefits and other support. That’s the assertion of a Federal lawsuit in Connecticut.   The suit seeks class-action status for thousands of Navy and Marine Corps veterans.  They are represented by students at Yale Law School.  The law students filed a similar lawsuit against the Army last year.

AIRMAN PUNISHED FOR RACIAL RANT.   An airman who posted a profane Facebook video in which she made racially charged comments has been punished at Nellis AFB, NV.  Tech. Sgt. Geraldine Lovely posted a video of her in-uniform rant in January; she claimed that black female airmen and NCOs had “attitude problems.”

RUNNING OUT OF SPACE AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY.  Veterans groups staunchly oppose the idea of restricting eligibility for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.  However, military officials don’t see another realistic option.  The 154-year-old cemetery, originally established as an overflow site for mounting Civil War casualties, has become one of the most hallowed military sites in America.  Over 3 million visitors travel to the site annually.  More than 7,000 service members were interred at the cemetery in fiscal 2017 alone.  Expansion plans are expected to keep burials on pace into the 2040s – but not much beyond that.

PERSONAL WEAPONS ON BASE.  President Trump is the examining Federal policies restricting troops carrying private firearms on military bases. 

DIFFERENT RANKS, DIFFERENT SPANKS.   Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif has challenged the Air Force’s lack of courts-martial for general officers.  She claims the Air Force has never prosecuted a general officer in its entire history.

While Rep. Speier zeroed in on the Air Force, she chastised other services as well.  She cited two former Army generals ― Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis used his government credit card at strip clubs in Rome and Seoul, along with other infractions, and Gen. William “Kip” Ward misused thousands of taxpayer dollars, borrowed military aircraft for personal use, and had staff members run personal errands for him.  Both generals lost a star ― and Ward was ordered to repay $82,000 ― but neither was court-martialed.

DRONE SUBMARINES?   Nuclear  attack submarines deploying undersea drones to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs? The U.S. Navy is taking steps to make this a reality, according to military press reports.


Michael Gerson recently made reference in his newspaper column to a California Supreme Court decision almost 150 years old.    People  v. Hall (1854) shockingly reflects the racist climate of the times.

Hall, a white defendant, was convicted of murder on the testimony of a Chinese witness.  On appeal, Halls lawyer argued that a nonwhite could not testify against whites.  The defense cited a California law that blacks, mulattos, and Indians could not testify in any case against a white person.  The law did not specifically mention the Chinese.

People v. Hall decided that since all nonwhites were similarly inferior, no one of nonwhite blood – including the Chinese – could testify against a white accused.

The decision is reprinted below.  The bolded words are particularly disturbing.

*  *  *

Supreme Court of the State of California, 1854.

Mr. Ch. J. Murray delivered the opinion of the Court. Mr. J. Heydenfeldt concurred.

The appellant, a free white citizen of this State, was convicted of murder upon the testimony of Chinese witnesses.

The point involved in this case is the admissibility of such evidence.

The 394th section of the Act Concerning Civil Cases provides that no Indian or Negro shall be allowed to testify as a witness in any action or proceeding in which a white person is a party.

The 14th section of the Act of April 16th, 1850, regulating Criminal Proceedings, provides that “No black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of, or against a white man.”

The true point at which we are anxious to arrive is, the legal signification of the words, “black, mulatto, Indian, and white person, ” and whether the Legislature adopted them as generic terms, or intended to limit their
application to specific types of the human species. . . .

The Act of Congress, in defining that description of aliens may become naturalized citizens, provides that every “free white citizen,” etc. . .

If the term “white,” as used in the Constitution, was not understood in its generic sense as including the Caucasian race, and necessarily excluding all others, where was the necessary of providing for the admission of Indians to the privilege of voting, by special legislation?

We are of the opinion that the words “white,” “Negro,” “mulatto,” “Indian,” and “black person,” wherever they occur in our Constitution and laws, must be taken in their generic sense, and that, even admitting the Indian of this continent is not of the Mongolian type, that the words “black person,” in the 14th section, must be taken as contradistinguished from white, and necessary excludes all races other than the Caucasian.

We have carefully considered all the consequences resulting from a different rule of construction, and are satisfied that even in a doubtful case, we would be impelled to this decision on ground of public policy.

The same rule which would admit them to testify, would admit them to all the equal rights of citizenship, and we might soon see them at the polls, in the jury box, upon the bench, and in our legislative halls.

This is not a speculation which exists in the excited and overheated imagination of the patriot and statesman, but it is an actual and present danger.

The anomalous spectacle of a distinct people, living in our community, recognizing no laws of this State, except through necessity, bringing with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge in open violation of law; whose medacity is proverbial; a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point, as their history has shown; differing in language, opinions, color, and physical conformation; between whom and ourselves nature has placed an impassable difference, is now presented, and for them is claims, not only the right to swear away the life of a citizen, but the further privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.

These facts were before the Legislature that framed this Act, and have been known as matters of public history to every subsequent Legislature.

There can be no doubt as to the intention of Legislature, and that if it had ever been anticipated that this class of people were not embraced in the prohibition, then such specific words would have been employed as would have put the matter beyond any possible controversy.

For these reasons, we are of opinion that the testimony was inadmissible.

The judgment is reversed and the cause remanded.


THANK YOU’S.   We often get nice compliments from grateful clients.  Some recent ones –

CA – California – Everything is good!   I’m receiving medical compensation and I graduated with my advanced degree. All of this is because you made me believe that – like Rocky – every dog has his day!

MS – Virginia – I’m grateful for your patience and professional guidance in pursuing the appeal.   The appeal was convoluted.  I appreciate your time flexibility to accommodate my travel schedule.  Your referral to Dr. Glassman was invaluable.  You did a great job.

RF – Pennsylvania – Dear Wayne and your lovely bride, you have an honest heart – may God continue to use you to defend the innocent.

RB – Puerto Rico – Many years and hours of lots of information I research on the web but worthless without your knowledge and expertise.  You have a touch of human kindness.   I am very pleased with your professional work.  Many blessings for you and your family.

KB – District of Columbia: Well, everything is finally final;   I’m medically retiring from the military.    It looks like everything is going well as planned, I went to Finance and they told me I don’t owe anything.  I’m doing good right now.

    TRANSGENDER BODYBUILDER SCULPTS A NEW LIFE IN THE NAVY.   Sailor Wes Phils  was named one of the winners of the 2018 International Association of Trans Bodybuilders competition. ADOPTED DAUGHTER OF MILITARY FAMILY DEPORTED. Retired Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber and his wife Soo Jin legally adopted a daughter, Hyebin. Despite the state of Kansas issuing a birth certificate recognizing the Schreibers as her parents, the Department of Homeland Security has said there’s no legal route to citizenship for Hyebin.  Once her student visa expires she will have to leave the U.S. A Federal court in Kansas has ruled that the adopted daughter of a now-retired Army officer — who missed a key immigration deadline for her while he was deployed to Afghanistan — will have to leave the U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber and his family had put off formal adoption of now-daughter Hyebin in 2013 because he was about to deploy overseas. He and wife Soo Jin legally adopted Hyebin after he got back, then started the official paperwork to seek citizenship for her. She had just turned 17. The U.S. immigration law cutoff for a foreign-born adopted child to become naturalized is 16; the U.S. District Court in Kansas declined to find an exception in Hyebin’s case. She is allowed to complete her degree in chemical engineering at the University of Kansas next year. Then she must return to Korea. Hyebin was Soo Jin’s niece, and when Hyebin’s home life became too difficult, Schreiber and his wife took her in as their own daughter.

PLEA DEAL REACHED IN CASE AGAINST FIRED MOBILITY WING COMMANDER.  A plea deal has been reached in the case of the former commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott AFB Illinois, who was originally facing charges including sexual assault and cruelty and maltreatment.

Col. John Howard, who was fired from command in December, accepted non-judicial punishment for conduct unbecoming an officer and fraternization with a junior enlisted airman, the 18th Air Force said in a recent news release.

 Howard has submitted his paperwork to retire.

The Air Force said that the victim did not want to participate in a court-martial proceeding against Howard…

“OOPS!”  QUOTE FROM CONFEDERATE STATES NAVY CAPTAIN.  The U.S. Navy Personnel Command issued an apology Monday evening after its Twitter account posted a motivational quote from Confederate Navy Capt. Raphael Semmes.

The quote in question read, “A military, or naval man, cannot go very far astray, who abides by the point of honor.”

Semmes, who also served in the Mexican-American War for the U.S. Navy, commanded the Confederate C.S.S. Alabama during the Civil War.

LOOKING BACK.  During World War II, commissioned nurses received 50% of the pay of male officers of the same rank.  They were not entitled to receive salutes.  Disregarding these inequities, 59, 000 nurses volunteered – and half of those ended up in combat zones.   Some 217 lost their lives.  — James R Benn, The First Wave.


Of course, nothing’s ever really deleted you know,” [the policeman] said. “From anywhere.  There’s always an electronic footprint.  A record on a computer server somewhere in the world.  Imagine that.  Every message you ever sent, every website you ever visited, every picture you upload, every post on social media. Everything. The amount of information people are putting out into the public domain about themselves today… It’s unprecedented in human history.  It’s all out there, all that data about you, stored forever.  It’s just a case of knowing where to look… It’s a gold mine, as far as law enforcement goes.”

– T.M. Logan, in  a mystery story entitled Lies.

Modern technology has spawned new devices and new types of data.  For law enforcement and defenders, there’s a whole new world of scientific challenges in the digital age.   Under Supreme Court precedent, there are serious issues of a reasonable expectation of privacy.   Among them:

Tower dumps

Prosecutor s are demanding cell site information from service providers, requiring them to turn over data on every device connected to a specific cell site.  This can help identify phone’s presence at the scene of a crime

Enhanced 911 tracking

 Federal law mandates that all cell phones have the ability to convey their location for emergencies when 9/11 is dialed

“Stingray” tracking

The “Stingray” device simulates a cell site and connects the Stingray to law enforcement instead of the cell phone service provider

Third-party online accounts

Most Americans maintain accounts with technology giants like Apple, Facebook, or Google.  Content may include online communications, but also detailed data about how, when, and where a user interacts with the service

Modern bank records.

Today, these are far more than canceled check and bank statements; traditionally, there is little expectation of privacy. These are negotiable instruments, and the law is reasonably settled.  But modern bank records do not clearly fit in the same pigeonhole

Smart devices.

“Smart devices” give ordinary objects wireless connectivity. These devices track a great deal of personal information and are appealing targets for law enforcement

IF YOU HAVE A SENSE OF IRONY.  “Tejanos” are proud of the fact that they lived in Texas before it ever became a republic, much less a state.  For a while, opponents of Texas statehood insisted that they were not enough Americans living there.   Soon, a great number of North American “immigrants” arriving in Texas.

A tongue-in-cheek friend has commented, “why didn’t the tejanos build a wall to keep the Americans out?”

MUST  WE HAVE TO LEARN OVER AND OVER? One of our interesting possessions is a little Ft.  Bragg pamphlet on battle fatigue, almost 50 years old.   It advises leaders how to minimize traumatic stress.   What a shame those good lessons about compassionate treatment of warriors with PTSD get forgotten after every war and must be relearned.

IS CONGRESS DUMB?  New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell writes in the Washington Post Outlook about what many view as bumbling mistakes in the Congress.

He claims that funding was severely cut by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.  Up to one third of the Congressional workforce was cut, with many government think tanks defunded.  As result, representatives turned to corporate lobbying organizations to learn the facts.  Lobbying expenditures between 1983 and 2013 ballooned from $200 million $3.2 billion.

Today, he claims, Congress spends absolutely nothing on independent assessment of technology issues.

WITCH HUNTS. These days, it is not unusual to hear politicians use the term “witch hunt.” Ricard L. Sjoberg writes of historical witchhunts, noting that:

  • About 60,000 Europeans were executed for alleged witchcraft from the 15th to the 18th  centuries
  • The idea that witches were members of an ancient fertility cult – though floated repeatedly – had been debunked by scholars
  • Witchhunts in fact did not rely primarily on testimony of children.  To the contrary, most testimony came from adults and was typically provided under torture

VOTED OFF THE ISLAND?  Gary Corby’s testing novel, The Pericles Commission is set in ancient Athens at the time democracy was first conceived.    One interesting aspect: Each year, the least popular politician was exiled for a decade!

THE SERVICE READING ROOMS.  True enough, there is no value as a legal “precedent” between various cases at the service corrections boards.  Nevertheless, applicants would do well to find similar cases – perhaps successful – from the following list and pattern their briefs in a similar vein:

  1. Air Force Board for the Correction of Military Records (AFBCMR) Oct 18, 2018 Boards of Review Reading Rooms. This is the Department of Defense Electronic Reading Room for the Military Departments Boards for the … Oct 1, 2018 Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (BCMR). Oct 1, 2018 Navy for Correction of Naval Records ( BCNR) Oct 16, 2018 Enter Search Term(s):. Naval Discharge Review Board (DRB) … Jan 13, 2019 Air Force Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) …


The U.S. Supreme Court may be ready to revisit the Feres doctrine, the 68-year-old ruling that limits troops from suing DOD.

The court recently ordered the U.S. Solicitor General to file a response to a petition in a military medical malpractice case, Daniel v. United States. The case was brought against the Federal government after an active-duty Navy nurse, Lt. Cmdr. Rebekah Daniel, died in 2014 following childbirth at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington.

Since 1987, the Supreme Court has refused to hear cases questioning Feres.  But the order from the court indicates that some justices may wish for a re-look.

Walter Daniel, a former Coast Guard officer, initially filed a malpractice suit against the Navy after his wife died four hours after giving birth to their daughter.   Ms. Daniel, who worked as a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital, began hemorrhaging immediately following delivery.  Medications failed to stop the bleeding.  The suit alleges that additional lifesaving measures were too late, contributing to her death.

The case and subsequent appeals were dismissed in the lower courts based on Feres, a 1950 Supreme Court decision that prevents troops from suing DOD for injuries incidental to military service.

Feres dates to a series of cases in the late 1940s involving injuries to active duty troops. The widow of Lt. Rudolph Feres sued the government after her husband died in a barracks fire caused by a defective heating system.

The 1950 Supreme Court decision said that said DOD already provided adequate disability compensation for personnel and dependents; to allow troops to sue the federal government would in effect cause civilian courts to question military orders and discipline.

The last Feres case petitioned to the Supreme Court also involved childbirth and an active-duty woman: In 2009, the daughter of an Air Force captain was injured when her mother received a medication that caused a severe allergic reaction while she was in labor. The court never heard the case; the Justice Department settled out of court in 2016.

In opinions written before they became U.S. Supreme Court justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas seemed to express interest in reviewing Feres.

DOD argues that Feres is necessary because it could cause military health givers to be more cautious in treating personnel, which could in turn affect their ability to save lives, both in military hospitals and on the battlefield.

More than 7,000 petitions are filed each year to the Supreme Court, with the justices accepting only 75 to 80 cases.

RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY.  Sailors deployed aboard the carrier John C. Stennis have plenty of religious choices – including Norse paganism.  Stennis is holding lay services in the ship’s chapel to serve a “small, committed” group of sailors identifying as adherents of this faith group.   Estimates suggest nearly 8,000 members in the U.S. and more than 16,000 worldwide.

SEXUAL ASSAULT IN TWO ARENAS.   Both the military and higher education have struggled with high numbers of sexual assault.  This April, they will combine forces in a  symposium on campus sexual assault.   .

Sexual assaults in both the military and on campus have been under a microscope in recent years.

Reports of sexual assault in the services were up almost 10 percent between fiscal years 2016 and 2017, according to an annual DOD Department report released last May.   The RAND Military Workplace Study opined that that 14 percent of female service members and 2 percent of male service members have been assaulted.  It also found 22 percent of women and 7 percent of men had been sexually harassed.

LAWYER’S CORNER –10 COMMANDMENTS OF CROSS-EXAMINATION. Prof. Irving Younger is famous – 30 years after his death – for his contribution to the art of cross-examination. The stated purpose is to guarantee that advocates who follow each commandment conduct a reasonably competent cross-examination.

In a recent issue of the Champion magazine of NACDL, William James argues that these 10 commandments remain “good law in today’s courtrooms.

The Rules

1.      A brief  objective – two or three concise, sharp points

2.      Short questions, using plain words

3.      Use of leading questions

4.      Asking only questions where you know the answer

5.      Refusing to let the witness repeat direct testimony

6.      Denying the witness a chance to explain

7.      Careful listening to the witness’s answer

8.      Avoiding quarreling with the witness

9.      Never asking the “one question too many”

10.   Saving argument for summation

DOING THE RIGHT THING – TODAY’S ETHICAL QUESTION.  Would Miranda warnings be improved or harmed by adopting the British approach? Words to the effect of:

You are under caution. Anything you say can be given in evidence against you…but it might harm your defense if you fail to make something known which will later be used in court.


ALCOHOLISM IN THE MILITARY.  “What do you do with a drunken sailor— or soldier or airman?”    In “12 Stepping the Military,” Nancy Olson summarizes the history of alcoholic treatment in the military.  According to the GAO, DOD had no reliable historical data showing the extent of alcoholism in the armed forces.

Commanders generally choose between four unpalatable alternatives

·         leave the alcoholic alone

·         transfer him/her

·         counseling/treatment

·         punishment

A Pearl Harbor survivor named Sgt. Bill Swegan apparently started a one-man operation at Mitchel Field, NY in 1948.  In1953, he transferred to Lackland AFB with the title of psychiatric social worker.  

By the end of the 1950s, however, the military withdrew all support from alcohol treatment programs.

The story then moves to late 1969, where the Navy attempted an alcohol rehab program at Long Beach, California.  It was judged a success.  However, some individuals vehemently opposed viewing alcoholism as an illness.  Among those who sought treatment at the Navy’s Long Beach program – Billy Carter, the president’s brother; and Betty Ford. 

A LIBERAL PERSPECTIVE.  How many people go bankrupt every year because of medical bills?  A liberal friend responds:

Great Britain








United States

GRAND TOTAL:   643, 000

LAWYER’S CORNER.  Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and New Yorker contributor, spoke at Stanford Law School on the subject of the Supreme Court in the” age of Trump.”   

A reporter summarized Toobin’s views as follows:

One of the greatest political events of our lifetime is the evolution of the Republican Party since the 1970s.  Moderate and liberal Republicans were formerly well represented, along with conservatives, in all branches of public life; that was reflected in the court.   That Republican Party is gone –the evolution of the court will again reflect the political composition of the country. 

Placing a new appointee on the court has become contentious, taking on strong left/right partisanship.  This is a relatively recent development – Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed with 90 votes.

Republicans much more than Democrats have been focused on a court reflecting their own views and values.  In the 70s, the Republican platform called for gun control, had no provision on abortion.   As Republican views developed on those issues, their advocates, focused more and more on composition of the courts as a specific vehicle to alter legislation and public policy.

Democrats, in contrast, did not especially focus on the courts in their conventions and campaigns or appeal to voters on that basis.

Evangelicals focused on these social issues and chose to set aside negative aspects of Trump’s values and behaviors – they sought transformation of the judiciary (which they are substantially getting, at lower court levels as well.)

In Justice Gorsuch’s first 15 votes, there is only one Justice with whom he has consistently voted – Clarence Thomas.  So the new judge’s conservative credentials have borne out, says Toobin.

What does this mean for the future?     Toobin predicts:

·         Roe v. Wade will be overturned, if not in the next months, at some point.  Many states have positioned themselves to pass legislation banning abortions, which will go into effect as soon as they perceive a court majority supporting this.  Passing such legislation ensures appeals to the Supreme Court and the opportunity to overturn.

·         Affirmative action – gone

·         Gay Rights – public acceptance of marriage might prevent its overturn, but the Bakery case and Hobby Lobby are models to expand the assertion of the religious rights of service providers or employers, exempting them from requirements now seen as civil rights

·         Expansion of gun rights beyond the Heller case

·         A permissive view toward campaign financing following Citizens United

·         Narrowing the bounds of regulatory agencies.  Justice Kavanaugh appears to support  limiting regulatory agencies to only areas directly covered by legislation.

The reporter concludes:

Despite these predictions, [Mr. Toobin ] remains optimistic that our institutions will hold and the country will get through whatever changes come without great social upheaval.  Despite the wide political divide, we are not on the verge of fascism or collapse.  Change will come through the electoral system.  The Resistance is focused on demonstrations, awareness and a great increase in women seeking office — a responsible effort within the political system.  We have not seen significant political violence beyond the Charlottesville events. He mentioned journalism, universities and churches as important institutions holding to the center.