May 30 2012
It is called, "undue command influence" and it refers to the ability of a massive organization, sanctioned with authorities by the US government to regulate peoples lives-such as the US Military-to apply pressure on its judicial system to obtain a pre-ordered result. For the "good of the service". There are supposed to be checks and balances in the military justice system that are supposed to prevent that, but trust me-they do not work well. The system will get its way eventually-and the individual will be thrown under the bus. ( Particularly if he is white and male). I know a bit or two about this-having been associated with the convening authority on at least a few court martials. Sometimes the evidence is clear cut-many times it is not. And that's why we need defense attorneys.
A man who knows a lot more than I do about the process, however, has finally had it with the "system"-and is throwing in the towel. The US military justice system and the nation is poorer as a result:
Just sour grapes by an attorney who should know better? I think not. It is real anguish at what has happened in today's military, where the chain of command has lost sight of the things it can regulate, and what it has not the authority to.
It was undue command influence that allowed a hack like Harvey to trash the career of CAPT O.P. Honors-when any judgment on the correctness of his actions had long been completed and moved on from. In order to obtain a pre-ordained result the authority of the chain of command was usurped and a guy -who was by all accounts a good ship's captain- was thrown under the bus to appease the gods of political correctness.
Think too, about a now common practice-considered grossly illegal during my day-of taking someone to Captain's mast for a DUI accusation. The directives authorizing this take the individual to mast, long before any civil proceedings are adjudicated, meaning that even if the guy gets acquitted of the charge ( and thus no DUI ever happened), the individual will have already been punished and had his career ruined. Not one high ranking person has spoken out about how this violates the Constitution's protections against double jeopardy.
The case that Gittins cites is a great example of undue command influence. Clearly a case of "buyers remorse", it highlights the ability of a woman who believes she has been wronged-to extract revenge by casually throwing out the "R" word. Even when no "R" has taken place. The military's rate of sexual assault is no higher than that of the comparable sized civilian sector-but thanks to the organized instutional paranoia inside DOD-done to appease feminists-lots of individuals have been routinely thrown under the bus.
And finally let's ask CDR Jackson about how impartial the Navy's IG system is-or any of the victims of the Tailhook inquisition about how fairly they were treated. Over incidents that were to put it mildly, nothing more than mild over exuberance. And probably could have been handled more discreetly with less pain and suffering for all. ( But hey, Paula Coughlin got 8 million dollars!)
Charles Gittins was the guy you turned to when the "machine" rose up and decided to crush you. There are other attorneys out there of course-but not all of them are of the same caliber as he is. And some, regrettably, care only about their fees ( like some lawyers everywhere-especially divorce lawyers). This is a loss for the individual officer and Sailor.