Military Justice in the News

JAG breaks ground on courthouse in TF Warrior area – The Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, Lt. Gen. Scott C. Black, visited the Task Force Warrior area of responsibility on July 11. Black was in the Bagram District, Parwan Province, for the groundbreaking of a courthouse meant to further the rule of law and increase legitimate systems of government. It was the first of eight courthouse groundbreakings scheduled in the province. “This courthouse is only a building, but what it stands for is justice,” said Black, who explained how people will be able to resolve their disputes peacefully. Task Force Warrior Command Judge Advocate, Capt. Bruce Tyler, stressed the need for a legal system to support the Afghan National Police in securing the population. “As businesses start to thrive in Afghanistan, a system to handle property rights and disputes is needed, or else businesses will not develop,” Tyler said. The courthouse groundbreaking continues a trend of Task Force Warrior furthering the rule of law in the province. Over the past year, it has provided courts with 500 judicial reference sets, 800 civics guides, and 10 sets of Afghan legal guides. Also, a pro bono clinic was begun, allowing more Afghan defendants to be represented by counsel. In addition, five attorneys were hired to conduct training for judges, lawyers and tribal elders.

Medical School Says Former Army Surgeon Hid Medtronic Ties. The New York Times (7/15, B3, Meier, Wilson) reports that Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo, a “former military doctor and Medtronic consultant at the center of a research scandal did not tell his medical school employer for a year about his Medtronic ties even as he was conducting company-sponsored research, according to that institution, Washington University in St. Louis.” The “new disclosures, which the medical school made in response to a Senate investigation, may intensify the controversy surrounding” Kuklo, “an orthopedic surgeon who formerly worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.” The Army has accused Kuklo “of falsifying a medical journal study about the use of a Medtronic bone-growth product on American soldiers with severe leg injuries, reporting more favorable results than other Walter Reed doctors found. The medical school documents also shed new light on Medtronic’s financial support of Dr. Kuklo’s research on those soldiers, who were treated with the company’s bone-growth product called Infuse.” The Times notes that the matter is under congressional and DOJ inquiry. Second life of GI who deserted to North Korea – Charles Robert Jenkins was an Army sergeant when he sneaked across the DMZ in 1965. Allowed to leave the North in 2004, he lives on a Japanese island with his family, working as a greeter in a shop.,0,415238.story

GI Gets 40 Years for Killing Colleague – A combat veteran who admitted killing a fellow Soldier by hitting him repeatedly on the head with a baseball bat was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Wednesday. The sentence was imposed on Pvt. Deandrez Robertson, 21, who admitted that he approached Pvt. Pernell Robert Flowers II, 22, from behind and delivered three blows. Robertson said he then hit Flowers once in the chest before leaving. Flowers was attacked on July 18, 2008, and died seven months later. “He brutally beat a fellow Soldier,” said Capt. Brian Mathison, a prosecutor who asked the judge, Col. Ted Dixon, for a life sentence. “Unfazed by the first blow to Private Flowers’ skull, he struck him again knocking his teeth out into the sand. … He walked away leaving Private Flowers choking on his own blood and unable to breathe.” Robertson, who served with a cavalry unit in Iraq in 2007, pleaded guilty to non-premeditated murder, assault with a deadly weapon, escape from custody, absence without leave, and obstruction of justice. The sentence included a dishonorable discharge from the Army. Robertson apologized to Flowers’ father, Pernell Flowers Sr., during a statement. However, Mathison said all the charges added up to a crime spree that revealed Robertson as an “extraordinary criminal” who was “emboldened and excited” by his actions. He said Robertson was taking revenge on Flowers for identifying him to El Paso police as the man who threatened a group of Soldiers with a shotgun five days earlier. Mathison outlined the sequence of events during his closing statement. Robertson had confirmed the details earlier in the day under questioning by the judge. Robertson called a former girlfriend and began arguing with her when he heard a male voice on the other end of the phone. The girlfriend told Robertson she was at a convenience store on Fred Wilson. After Robertson was arrested, he said, he began planning his escape with a Soldier he met in jail. On Dec. 10, when he was at Fort Bliss to meet his lawyers, he said, he called the Soldier’s wife, who had agreed to pick him up just outside a post gate. He said he walked out the door without being seen. Another Soldier had agreed to buy civilian clothes for him, he said. U.S. marshals captured him six days later at a bus stop in Knoxville, Tenn., and he was returned to the El Paso area.

Corps Eyes Booted Marine’s Enlistment CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The Marine Corps is investigating how an autistic Marine who pleaded guilty to desertion was allowed to enlist in the first place, since his recruiter knew his condition. The Marine has received a three-year suspended sentence and given a bad-conduct discharge after he pleaded guilty to desertion and other charges at Camp Pendleton. Pvt. Joshua Fry of Orange County had a plea bargain approved by Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert on Monday that will allow him to leave the brig by the end of the week after serving nearly a year there. The 21-year-old could have been sentenced to 42 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Authorities say Fry tried to run away and had child pornography on his computer and cell phone after he went to Camp Pendleton for infantry training. The Corps is now looking into how Fry was allowed to enlist. Officials said his recruiter knew he had been diagnosed as autistic.

Sailor charged in Camp Pendleton shooting death of seaman SAN DIEGO – A sailor has been charged with fatally shooting and burning a gay serviceman last month at Camp Pendleton, but Navy officials said Thursday it was part of a crime spree not related to the victim’s sexual orientation.

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