Saturday, January 31, 2015

Civilian conviction not noted in service record: what is to be done?

Col. (ret) Don Christensen
Air Force Times has this report on a case in which a senior NCO is being retired at a pay grade lower than the one in which he last served, as he had not served in it for the required three years. He had been convicted years before in civilian court for threatening his girlfriend and served a short civilian jail term.

The offense was so old that sequential prosecution by a court-martial, much less nonjudicial punishment, was barred by the statute of limitations. The NCO had disclosed the civilian conviction to military authorities as required, and he received the necessary waiver for reenlistment. He was also repeatedly promoted. Apparently the civilian conviction was never made a part of his service record. Air Force Times notes:
Retired Col. Don Christensen, former Air Force chief prosecutor-turned-president of Protect Our Defenders, called the case a "perfect example of how the command-driven justice system covers for the crimes committed by military members. Clear message is if your commander likes you, you can get away with violence against women or sexual assault."
 The Air Force is taking steps to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

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