Thursday, January 17, 2008

Witnesses For The Prosecution Against Webster Smith.

“All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self evident.”
(ARLINGTON, Va., 16 January 2008) Former cadet Webster Smith, the first cadet ever court-martialed at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, sought to have his conviction overturned on Wednesday, 16 January 2008.The former cadet appeared before the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington DC.

The newspapers reported that the Coast Guard Investigating Service (CGIS) at the request of Captain Douglas Wisniewski started investigating allegations in 2006 concerning a rumor that Cadet Smith had raped his girlfriend, Kristen Nicholson (KN), a fellow cadet and the Coast Guard Academy's first female Regimental Commander. This allegedly occurred after she had gotten drunk at a party in Annapolis, Maryland. It is more accurate to say that Commander Sean Gill, the Academy Staff Legal Advisor, had been investigating Cadet Webster Smith's personal social life since 2005. In fact, CDR Gill had a personal grudge against Cadet Smith. He felt that Webster Smith was too big for his britches. In downhome parlance, CDR Gill felt that "Webster Smith had had a good ride."

The Article 32 Investigating Officer, Commander Steven Andersen, found that there was not sufficient evidence to charge Cadet Smith with rape, but the convening authority, Admiral James Van Sice ignored that advice and followed the advice of his own Staff Attorney advisor, Commander Sean Gill, who recommended that he charge Cadet Smith with rape anyway. The Article 32 Officer even recommended that Admiral Van Sice dispose of the charges at an Article 15, Captain's Mast, a form of non-judicial punishment.

CDR Gill's advice was rather bizarre because the Article 32 Officer was also a Military Judge as a collateral duty. He was emminently qualified to give sound advice on this issue. He made an independent and fair assessment. Even CDR Gill agreed that CDR Andersen's advice was sound and fair. However, he felt the girls were "up for the court-martial". The Witnesses for The Prosecution were ready to testify against Webster Smith. They gathered together and compared stories.
(The Witnesses for the Prosecution were; Shannon Frobel (SF), Stacy Chmieleski (SC), Keri McCormack (KM), Natalie Moyer (NM), Shelly Rodenbush (SR), and Kristen Nicholson (KN).)

Get the full story, and read more at:



Blogger ichbinalj said...

Webster Smith's lawyers told the U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington that the convictions should be thrown out because Smith's defense team was not allowed to fully cross-examine his accuser, Shelly Raudenbush, during the court-martial. Further questioning could have raised doubts about the her credibility, they said.
"What we are asking the court to do is take a fresh look at this case," attorney Ron Machen said.
Lt. Cmdr. Patrick M. Flynn, the government's lawyer, urged the three-judge panel to uphold the convictions. Jurors "found beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of extortion were met," he said.
Smith, 24, declined to comment after oral arguments ended at the U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals.
Judges did not immediately rule and did not say when they would do so.

12:46 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

CG Court of Criminal Appeals
The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals, established under Article 66, UCMJ, by the Judge Advocate General is composed of the Chief Judge and not less than two additional appellate military judges. The judges may be commissioned officers or civilians. The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals is normally composed of five appellate judges organized in panels of three for consideration of referred cases. All but the Chief Judge have other primary duties, so that their service on the Court constitutes a collateral duty. In general, the Court reviews and acts on the records by affirming, reversing, or modifying in part the findings or sentence in each case of trial by court-martial in which the sentence, as approved, extends to death; dismissal of a commissioned officer or cadet; dishonorable discharge; bad conduct discharge; or confinement of one year or more. The Court also reviews other courts-martial with lesser sentences if the Judge Advocate General so directs. Also reviewed by the Court are petitions for extraordinary writs, petitions for new trial which have been referred to the Court, and appeals by the United States under Article 62, UCMJ.

The Court is currently constituted as follows:
Acting Chief Judge Lane I. McClelland
Judge David J. Kantor
Judge Thomas R. Cahill
Judge Gary E. Felicetti
Judge Frederick W. Tucher
Judge Michael J. Lodge
Clerk of the Court: Jane R. Lim
Email Address:

The Courtroom, Clerk of the Court’s Office, and Chambers of the Chief Judge are located at:

4200 Wilson Blvd.,
Suite 790, Box 24
Arlington, VA 22203-1804
202-493-1147 (Phone)
202-493-1145 (Fax)

12:15 AM  
Blogger energioso said...

Cadet Smith has been railroaded at every turn due to the immunity conditions on Shelly Raudenbush.

It should be noted that it takes two to tango. The appeal process should deliver a mistrial and overturn the convictions.

It has been a very rough road for this young man. Shelly should be ashamed of herself. She played the victim, and the race card, and was embraced by her White attornies, White prosecutors, and the White military establishment.

The name of the enlisted man that Shelly had sex with should also be mentioned. What is his name? Why didn't the defense attornies going after his testimony? Did he get immunity too?

I can almost guarantee you that he was White. I guess that when you are White you are right.

By the way, Where is Shelly working right now? There should be an all day protest where she works about the free ride she got by the prosecution.

Shouldn't Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton be all over this?

This injustice must stop. I would take this all the way to the Supreme Court. We shall one day overcome.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelly "Wyman", as she is now married to the man whom she cheated on numerous times, works at Sector Baltimore.

The defense could not call him as a witness because he would have been a benefit to their theory and thus, he wasnt allowed immunity. He would have incriminated himself. He is indeed, white. At the time, he was an E-5 but I am unsure if he is still enlisted.

I just hope that one day she tells her husband the truth about what she did to save her engagement to him. And then I pray that God shows her mercy.

Al Sharpton and Mr. Jackson will not involve themselves until it causes enough of a media-stir.

7:32 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Fraternization appears to be a serious problem for every military service except the USCG.
In April 1999, a married male Air Force pilot and father of five children, pled guilty in his court-martial to among other things, fraternization, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy charges. Capt. Joseph Belli was a tanker pilot when he began a consensual sexual affair with an enlisted female, Airman Susan Redo in 1997. The offenses with which Belli was charged carried a maximum sentence of twenty-two years in prison and a dismissal. Belli was sentenced to be dismissed from the Air Force and to serve fifteen days in jail.236

8:20 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Fraternization is not tolerated, unless you are in the USCG.
In 2005, the Air Force's top lawyer, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Fiscus, then the Judge Advocate General of the United States Air Force, was approved to retire in the permanent grade of colonel, following punishment under the military's nonjudicial or administrative punishment system for conduct unbecoming an officer, fraternization, engaging in unprofessional relationships, and obstruction of justice. Fiscus graduated from the Air Force Academy in the Class of 1972.

8:24 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The report on Maj General Thomas Fiscus' involvement with enlisted members, while he was serving as the Air Force's highest ranking legal officer in uniform -- detailed inappropriate relationships with thirteen women, including six active-duty judge advocates, two paralegals (usually enlisted members of the Air Force), one civilian Department of Defense employee, and four other civilians. In his non-judicial punishment action, Fiscus was ordered to forfeit one-half of his pay per month for two months and was reprimanded for misconduct which had occurred over a ten-year period. The Secretary of the Air Force also took action to approve Gen. Fiscus' retirement in the grade of colonel, which meant that the former two-star general would retire in a grade two steps below that in which he was serving at the time his misconduct was discovered. The case marked the first time in the history of the military where a Judge Advocate General, the most senior uniformed lawyer in a service branch, was relieved of his duty for unprofessional conduct

8:32 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

In the case of Colonel Shelley Rogers' relationship with a female subordinate in his command finding that it amounted to criminal conduct, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals explained:

"Professional relationships are essential to the effective operation of the Air Force, but unprofessional relationships create the appearance that personal friendships and preferences are more important than individual performance and contribution to the mission. Because they erode morale, discipline and the unit's ability to perform its mission, they become matters of official concern."

8:36 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The Air Force has taken the prohibition against fraternization to another level. It prohibits fraternization with the spouses of enlisted members.
In 1997, the Air Force charged the first female to qualify as a B-52 bomber pilot with adultery, false official statements, and failure to obey the lawful orders of her superior commander. That was female Lt. Kelly Flinn.
Lt. Flinn had broken the pilot barrier that previously kept women in the Air Force from flying in any aircraft qualified as a combat aircraft.
Lt. Flinn, an Air Force Academy graduate, had been selected as the first female to pilot the B-52 bomber aircraft.

But this success came to a crashing halt when allegations arose that Flinn had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with Marc Zigo, who was married to a female enlisted airman in Flinn's squadron. Flinn's commander ordered her to stop seeing Zigo and to require him to move out of her home, where he had taken up residence. Flinn did not do so, resulting in the court-martial charges that grabbed headlines and sparked debate throughout the nation.

Once Lt. Flinn's commander preferred the charges against her, there ensued a debate that brought out the positions of members of Congress, and which detailed the lack of consistency in treatment of cases in which adultery had been at least one charge included in a court-martial.
Lt. Flinn was given an administrative separation, and in the end, the Secretary of the Air Force, the first woman to serve in that post, Sheila Widnall, approved a general discharge for Flinn, who thereby avoided a criminal conviction for her conduct.

8:50 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Lt. Christa Davis, also a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was charged with a variety of offenses stemming from her adulterous affair with a married officer who had been one of her instructors at the Academy. Lt. Davis' charges, which initially included adultery, were modified following the high-profile discussion of sexual misconduct in the Flinn case, resulting in charges of dereliction of duty, failure to report to duty, making a false official statement, and conduct unbecoming an officer. Lt. Davis' case was ultimately resolved through, NJP, non-judicial punishment. She paid a fine of $2000 and received a reprimand. She was also separated from the service and was required to repay the $13,000 cost of her education at the Air Force Academy.

8:53 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Many crimes prosecuted under Article 134, Uniform Code of Military Justice, have nothing to do with sexual misconduct. On the other hand, a laundry list of sexual misconduct may be punished under Article 134, including fraternization, adultery, fornication, pandering and prostitution, and solicitation.


The crime of fraternization, one of the more interesting crimes prosecuted under Article 134, is committed when (1) it is against the customs and traditions of the services for an officer to "fraternize on terms of military equality with one or more certain enlisted member(s) in a certain manner" and (2) "such fraternization violated the customs of the accused's service that officers shall not fraternize with enlisted members."

Fraternization has been punished as a military offense throughout military history. Its prohibition dates back to when the legions of Rome marched through Europe and the Middle East, and it continues in our system today. Traditionally, fraternization involved situations where officers gambled with, borrowed money from, loaned money to, or got publicly intoxicated with an enlisted member of the military.

The substantial increase of women in the armed forces in the early 1980s gave rise to significant new challenges. The Webster Smith case tried to avoid having to deal with the issue when Shelley Raudenbush was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony against Webster Smith.

9:19 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Fraternization for the United States Coast Guard is defined as a nod and a wink if you are connected to the highest in command.

In Webster Smith's case, not only was he not connected, he was black.

The double standards for white Coast Guard Cadets, and for black Cadets is troubling.

I do not expect the US Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals to rule in favor of Cadet Smith as they have already been hood winked by the previous prosecution. They are all in bed together.

It would attract too much media attention to the "true" extorsion that occured when Shelly Raudenbush received immunity from the prosecution. I wonder what other side deals were met, and who else were silenced in their eager efforts to court-martial Cadet Smith?

The hypocrisy of the this noble institution continues at the highest level. Don't worry, I will not hold my breath when the USCGCCA makes its ruling. I expect more of the same.

They've all been bought out and their careers will remain intact, while Cadet Smith's career is in shambles, thanks to the warped and partial testimony of Susan Raudenbush, and a defense team who didn't have the guts to simply find the truth.

May her name live in infamy among the annals of civil rights military injustice.

12:19 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

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10:59 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

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12:44 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

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12:45 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:49 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Cadet Shannon Frobel should be dismissed from the Coast Guard.

All these females on the prosecution list get a free ride. They play the victim on behalf of an eager prosecution waiting to place Webster Smith as the first black cadet officer to be court-martialed in the history of the USCGA.

How could a jury find any of these witnesses credible? Where is the justice? Why won't an appeal process take up the spirit of what actually happened here? Finally, why are the females in the witness list still serving in the Coast Guard? Are they still serving? If they are, its a gross travesty of justice.

I am apalled by the reverse justice metted out by the appeals court, and all who reviewed this case.

It just appears that everyone wants to pass the buck to the next jurisdiction, with no penalties.
While the prosecution was agressive in condemning Webster Smith, why are they so sheepish when overturning the conviction? Where is the valor and honor within the CG judicial system?

10:02 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Dear Energioso,
Thanks for the comments. Yes, things are certainly different now than they were when I was a cadet. The Rugby Teams parties would make Otto Graham's raudy Athletic Banquets sound like a Tupperware Party.
It sounds like these girls would deliver faster than Federal Express, but if they are not careful they might give Mouth-to-Mouth recussitation a bad name.
I am not sure if they are all still in the Coast Guard, but they would have been voted "Mostly Likely TO GO DOWN In Coast Guard History". Their favorite songs could be the old standards from the 70s, "Blowin In The Wind" and "Nobody Does It Better".
Not every graduating senior can get sea duty these days; but, if they were able to survive the post traumatic stress of the aftermath of the Webster Smith court-martial, and get assigned to a seagoing billet, they would turn any Coast Guard Cutter into a tramp steamer.
With these girls, words like "chaste", "virtuous", "honorable", "core values", and "moral" would never come to mind.
But, in all seriousness, how could girls with the propensities and habits of these girls have become the standard by which Webster Smith was judged? How could the Rules of Evidence at a court-martial ever be so bent as to prevent any of the background illuminating facts to come out?
These girls were bad news. They polluted anyone they came in contact with. Webster Smith's biggest mistake was in associating with women of such easy virtue.

11:03 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday 19 Feb 2008 turned down a legal challenge to the warrantless domestic spying program President Bush created after the 9/11/2001 Muslim terrorists' attacks on the WTC.

The American Civil Liberties Union had asked the justices to hear the case after a lower court ruled the ACLU, other groups and individuals that sued the government had no legal right to do so because they could not prove they had been affected by the program. They lacked legal "standing" to sue.

The civil liberties group also asked the Supreme Court to make clear that Bush does not have the power under the U.S. Constitution to engage in intelligence surveillance within the United States that Congress has expressly prohibited.

9:04 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."
-Thomas Jefferson
Just so, I tremble for my Alma Mater, the Coast Guard Academy, when I reflect on the case of Webster Smith, and I remember that unearned suffering is redemptive. You shall reap what you sow.
How long, Coast Guard? How long?

9:48 PM  
Blogger energioso said...

Where is the outrage? Where are the thousands of signed petitions denouncing this circus? Why haven't the attornies procured more public attention for this case?

I already know the results. I hope I am wrong, but it appears that the judge has no motivation whatsoever in overturning and dropping the wrongful convictions.

I suspect that the Judge will not put his career on the line for a black man, invite media scrutiny, and overturn the wrongful convictions of the first cadet to be court martialed in Coast Guard Academy history. The racial cards are stacked up against him.

Shelly Raudenbush, should be fully cross examined. Only then, will true justice be heard and served.

11:33 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

According to the February 2008 GAO Report of Sexual Assaults at the military academies, from 2003 to 2006 there were NO sexual-harassment complaints at the Coast Guard Academy, but there were 12 incidents of sexual assault reported to the Coast Guard Investigative Service, with one incident in 2003, one in 2004, “NONE” in 2005 and 10 in 2006.

The 10 incidents reported in 2006 would appear to have occurred after the Webster Smith court-martial. Webster Smith was removed from Chase Hall in 2005. Who was doing all of the sexual assaulting in 2006? Why were none of these people brought to justice? They could have been tried along with Webster Smith.

There is something wrong with this picture. The GAO report suggests that CGA’s figures may not tell the full story.

This GAO Report could have been used at the Webster Smith trial. At the very least, it could have been impeachment evidence against Doug Wisniewski, the Commandant of Cadets. He testified concerning an atmosphere of fear among the female cadets because of a sexual predator in Chase Hall.
How could that be? If there were NO reported incidents of sexual assault in 2005, from whence cometh the atmosphere of fear? If there had been any incidents of sexual assault,, surely they would have been reported, because Wisniewski was in charge of reporting them.

This same GAO Report could have been used to cross-examine every female who testified against Webster Smith. If any incident had occurred, why did they not report it? Did they forget? Was their memory better at the time of the alleged incident, or later at the court-martial?

Webster Smith was court-martialed in 2006. When was he supposed to have committed these offenses? The Investigation into his conduct began in 2005.
The GAO report suggests that CGA’s figures may not tell the full story. that is putting it mildly and politely.

6:45 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Dear Energioso,
Some of my Blue Collar readers think you flirt with racism, because you mention the race of the people. I don't believe you are a racIST, or that you engage in racISM simply because you mention the race of the person. One can discuss race without engaging in racISM. This is still a free country, and you are still entitled to your opinion. And, your opinions are within the bounds of fair comment on the facts. At least, you do not leave anonymous comments. You identify yourself, after a fashion, and you leave an opinion. I might not agree with everything you say, or the way in which you say it, but I would defend to the death your right to say it.
Keep reading,
Keep Blogging,

2:09 AM  
Blogger energioso said...

I will continue to read and I will continue to blog. I am not a racist, but a realist.

I understand the nuanses of race baiting as in Webster Smith's case. The fact that there were sexual assault cases without any convictions in 2006 outside of Webster Smith is telling.

The fact that there are disproportionate cadets who are white,but not Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or African American is telling.

The fact that his initial defense lawyers were white is telling. And finally, the fact that he was the not only the first cadet court martialed but first black cadet is telling.

I hope and pray that the convictions get overturned. This young man Cadet Smith, deserves a second change.

11:43 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Beverly Herbert said: "I attended the Easter service at Connecticut College and was glad that I did. I was pleasantly surprised at the positive message by the former-Gov. John G. Rowland in which he spoke of his journey from the high to the low and how faith brought him through.
I know many people think of John Rowland as the worst governor ever. However, during his administration I remember writing to him and actually getting an answer and getting the issue addressed. Also, I remember when calling the governor's office that his staff was always courteous, gracious, knowledgeable and helpful.
Many people seem to want to make the former governor the poster boy for political corruption in Connecticut.
Making him the poster boy can no more solve the problem of political corruption in Connecticut than making Webster Smith the poster boy for all the sexual misconduct and abuse that had gone on at the Coast Guard Academy for years without anyone being held accountable.
Beverly Herbert

9:00 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals by a narrow margin has made the wrong decision for the wrong reason. They have left the Sixth Amendment to the U S Constitution in shreds. By a majority of 2-1, they voted against Webster Smith. Only one member of the Appellate Court was able to see clearly the errors made by the Trial Court. There will be much said about this decision in the future.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction, she works at Sector Boston.

4:19 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Attorneys for former Coast Guard Academy cadet Webster Smith have filed a brief and a petition for review and appeal of his court-martial with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. (Aug 2008). This is the last level of appeal before the U S Supreme Court.

2:26 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The congressman who worked hand in hand with the Coast Guard and almost pressured the Coast Guard Academy to court-martial a cadet just to send a message to cadets at all service academies about sexually assaulting female cadets, Christopher Shays, is in trouble.
Chris Shays has a Coast Guard admiral in Washington DC ready to testify before his Committee the day Webster Smith was court-martialed.
Locked in a tough re-election campaign in a district that overwhelmingly supports Barack Obama, Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays has joined some fellow Republicans in publicly voicing frustration with John McCain's presidential campaign.

Shays told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Republican nominee's campaign has gone too negative against Obama, and has muted his message of being an independent thinker with the best ideas and experience needed to solve the nation's problems.

With the tone of the campaign and Obama's lead in the polls, McCain will have a difficult time winning the presidency, Shays said, although he believes it's still possible.

12:34 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Chris Shays is GONE. That's GOOD.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays was a master at surviving close elections in a diverse southwestern Connecticut district that includes some of America's richest towns and deep pockets of poverty.
But he was no match for the long coattails of Barack Obama in Tuesday's election. The moderate Republican seeking his 11th term was bested by Democrat Jim Himes, 142,979 votes to 135,630 votes.
Shays, 63, was trounced in Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, as well as Stamford and Norwalk, in his failed 11th bid for re-election. When he leaves office in January, there will be no New England Republicans in the House of Representatives.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is difficult to distinguish fact from emotion in this case. Cadet Smith's case would be better served if those that support him speak using verifiable facts and logic and a little less talk from the heart. During 26 years in the service of this country I sat as member of two court martial panels for similar offenses. The process is basically sound, but I will be the first to admit that I was not a witness to Cadet Smith's trial. What I can tell from this event is that Cadet Smith may not be totally blameless and that he may have been unfortunate to have this happen in the current atmosphere of trying to right the wrongs heaped on women in the service. I don't think he will have much luck reversing the decision against him.

8:53 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) will hear the WEBSTER SMITH case. Oral Argument has been scheduled for September 2009!

9:28 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Every thought, word, and motive concerning CDR Gill comes directly from CDR Gill. The Webster Smith Discrimination Complaint was not a total loss. The Complaint was valid and would have been won had it been considered on the merits. The investigation was thorough and proper. It forced all of the major players to submit affidavits subject to the penalties for perjury. A sworn statement is far better than speculation or assumption. A declaration against interests given by an honorable man is hardly a rant. It is something a reasonable person can rely on.

7:54 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

coastie responds: Thank you, I think it my comment about “where are they now” that you responded to? I see no mention of CDR Patrick Flynn, who was recently selected to CAPT. What is his role in this?

Side note: I have to assume justice was served…I can’t base much faith on internet, look at the BM1 Ruggerio incident, his was a “poor victim” the CG would not help while “protecting” the BM1. Wow, how facts and investigations change things…he is free, she is locked up. I wonder if she is still going into “deep cover” for fear of her life…too much!!! The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

However – great site, I enjoy your information.

10:22 AM  
Blogger energioso said...

I believe that they should overturn the court-martial and dismiss the case entirely. This has been a travesty of justice from the outset. In my opinion, justice will not be met until the convictions are overturned and Webster Smith returns to his rightly status as Cadet of the Coast Guard Academy to finish his training at the next CGA as soon as possible.

5:45 PM  

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