Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mission creep and military justice

The Alaska Dispatch News has this story:
A U.S. Coast Guard petty officer acquitted of state child sex abuse charges in 2013 has been convicted of perjury and stalking after a court martial in Kodiak. 
Petty Officer 2nd Class John Blackman, previously of Soldotna, was found guilty of violating two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
*   *   * 
Blackman lied during a child custody hearing, leading to the perjury charge, [Coast Guard spokesman Kip] Wadlow said. As for the circumstances surrounding the stalking charge, the spokesperson said he didn’t have additional information. 
It’s unclear whether the case is tied to the child sex abuse case in which Blackman was accused of beating and sexually abusing a 4-year-old boy. The Coast Guard has declined to say whether there is a connection.
Blackman originally faced seven charges, some of which included multiple specifications, the military’s version of criminal counts. 
The charges say he asked someone to follow a woman without her consent and he lied to Coast Guard investigators about police officers quitting over the state case against him.
The usual questions: why was this case being tried in a court-martial? Was it a second bite at the apple? Trial by Coast Guard court-martial for perjury in a state courtroom? Really? Why no clarity on whether the case involved the same child sex abuse of which PO2 Blackman had previously been acquitted in the state case?

Honk if you think this is a misuse of the military justice system.

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