Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dissonance--cognitive or musical, doesn't matter

From Daily Mail
And now a pause . . .

Well, that’s what happens when a lawyer practicing U.S. military law reads about a civilian convicted at court-martial, and then reads she is resentenced after an appeal to increase the sentence—a pause.

Maybe I should have labelled this post being about dissonance in several parts.

It was reported by the media, including the Daily Mail (UK), that, a “Love-starved Corporal's wife who seduced soldier's son, 14, after meeting him on a school bus is spared jail.”
Caroline Salisbury, 27, lured the boy into her bed after meeting him on a school bus. The mother-of-two, who had been 'looking for love', pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual activity with a child – after earlier telling a neighbour she had been raped by him.  Speaking at a court in Colchester yesterday, Judge Advocate Emma Peters gave her a two-year suspended sentence and warned her to 'stay away from young boys'.
Salisbury, who was 25 at the time, began having sex sessions in her living room with the boy a week after his 14th birthday in 2013, the Service Civilian Court was told.
Dissonance the first.  A civilian spouse of a military member being tried in military court.  It was decided many years ago in the U.S. that civilians were not subject to court-martial jurisdiction.  I am referring to the two famous cases, on this side of the pond: Kinsella v. Krueger, 351 U.S. 470 (1956), and Reid v. Covert, 351 U.S. 1 (1956).

However, that changed several years ago with a UCMJ amendment allowing for court-martial of civilians accompanying the force in places such as Iraq or AfghanistanUnited States v. Ali, 71 M.J. 256 (C.A.A.F. 2012), seems to be the only instance of a successful prosecution under the new law (Ali was not a U.S. citizen, but a dual national of Canada and Iraq).  There were three or four other cases in the pipeline that did not reach the trial stage.
Salisbury was placed on the sex offenders' register for ten years and banned from having any boy aged under 16 in her home without parental consent.
Dissonance the second.  This seems incredibly light compared to sex offender registration in the U.S.  For example, here in Virginia she’d be a life-time registrant.  An explanation of these collateral consequences can be found here.

But, there's always a but.  The Daily Mail updated their report yesterday with:
A corporal’s wife was jailed for three years yesterday for having sex with the 14-year-old son of a soldier – after a judge said her original suspended sentence was ‘unjustifiably’ soft.
Caroline Salisbury, 28, was given a two-year suspended sentence in March for sleeping with the teenager, whom she met on a school bus at a British military base in Germany.
But at the Court of Appeal yesterday, that sentence was overturned for being ‘too lenient’. Instead, three senior judges sentenced her to three years in prison with immediate effect.
Dissonance the third.  Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a sentence cannot be increased either through appeal, or on retrial for the same offenses.  There is a nuance where a retrial could have additional charges not previously prosecuted, in which case there could be an increase in sentence.

It appears that there was additional information considered on appeal which may not have been considered at the original trial, as reported by the Daily Mail.
It emerged at the hearing that the mother of two had also had sex with the boy’s 17-year-old brother a year before.
Dissonance the fourth.  Under the UCMJ, new evidence (from either side) may not be admitted or considered on appeal.  Although again there are some nuances, for example when there are claims of ineffective assistance of the defense counsel.

Dissonance the fifth.  The picture.  Not something you are likely to see as an accused is taken down from a U.S. court-martial, even with media presence.

We’d be interested to hear from those more tuned to British military justice practice.

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