A series of pertinent – and impertinent – comments on military justice
Judge Lou Oliveira presides over a Veterans Court in Cumberland County, NC. He had before him the case of Sgt JS, who did four combat tours in Afghanistan in something like a 20- year Army career. Suffering from bad PTSD, former-Sgt JS was charged with driving under the influence. Finding him guilty, the judge sentenced JS to 24 hours in jail. Then, Judge Oliveira joined the vet behind bars as a compassionate gesture.
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The Army is reviewing its tape test measurement of physical fitness. A working group will revise the pertinent regulation, AR 600-9.
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A Navy lieutenant nurse who refused to force-feed protesting prisoners at Guantánamo in 2014 has been restored to full Navy duty. She insisted that, as a medical professional, she could not participate in forced feeding in the prison’s psychiatric ward. According to the Miami Herald, this was a happy ending – a “long-overdue vindication for professionalism and adherence to medical ethics.”
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The Army has updated its regulation on polygraphs. There are limitations on the sort of questions that can be asked. Unless it directly relates to the criminal probe, the OSI cannot ask questions relating to:
- religious beliefs or lawful affiliation
- beliefs and opinions regarding racial matters
- sexual orientation/preference
- political beliefs
- affiliations of a non-subversive nature
- opinions on the constitutionality of legislative practices
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You have to know a bit of Jewish tradition, but an observant blogger shared the following just in time for Passover: A Jewish Brit was in line to be knighted by the Queen. He was supposed to recite a sentence in Latin when she tapped him on the shoulder with her sword. However, he panicked in the excitement of the moment. Forgetting the Latin, he recited the only other foreign sentence he knew –in Hebrew, from the Passover Seder
Ma nishtana ha layla ha zeh mi kol ha laylot
Puzzled, the Queen turned to her advisor and whispered, “Why is this knight different from all other knights?”
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Lance Cpl. Monika Sterling was convicted in a court-martial at Camp Lejeune NC. Her charges included disrespecting a superior commissioned officer and disobeying lawful orders. According to press reports, much of this stemmed from a Bible verse she taped up in three locations around her military cubicle. The verse was based on Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Her supervisor allegedly found the language “combative.” According to press reports, her appeal will soon be decided by the highest military court. COMMENT: Where were the Marine JAGs to insure this didn’t escalate to the level of a Federal court conviction?
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Words of wisdom? “A lion does not concern itself with the opinion of the sheep.”
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Recently, the Military TIMES faulted the services for failing to provide sufficient staff and resources to examine all sexual assault reports. Military spokesmen assured the public that the armed forces are on the right track. However, the military supposedly received more than 6,000 reports of sexual assault last year – only a fraction, about 250, led to a court-martial conviction. According to the Pentagon report, this appears to be about 4% of the complaints. Among explanations for lack of conviction – loss of jurisdiction, weak evidence, and separation of the alleged perpetrator from the military.