Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Remains Of The Day.


Publication: The Day. 12/28/2010.
By Lee Howard.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of the conviction of Webster Smith, the only Coast Guard Academy cadet ever court-martialed.

Smith's conviction in 2006 on extortion, sodomy and indecent-assault charges - while he was acquitted on a rape count - had previously been upheld by the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals and, in March, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Smith had sought a Supreme Court review based largely on the argument that he had not been able to question the credibility of one of his accusers, known only as Cadet SR.

The right to confront one's accusers is guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But the Armed Forces appeals court, in a 3-2 vote, ruled that judges have the discretion to bar testimony so long as the issue involved is not deemed necessary to the case.

"Further cross-examination of Cadet SR was not 'constitutionally required,' " according to the appeals court decision. "It was neither material nor vital."

Smith's attorneys wanted a chance to question the female cadet because, according to a legal brief, she had lied about the consensual nature of a previous sexual encounter with an enlisted man, contrary to Coast Guard rules and possibly jeopardizing her military career. The female cadet claimed Smith used knowledge of her previous dalliance to extort sexual favors from her.

"The defense maintained that the two cadets' sexual encounter was consensual and that SR was fabricating her accusations because the encounter occurred in Chase Hall, the Academy dormitory, where sexual activity is prohibited by cadet regulations," according to a brief in the case.

The court's minority, including Chief Judge C.J. Effron, agreed that Smith's attorneys should have been allowed to question the female cadet. In a dissenting opinion, they said Smith's "allegation that SR had previously lied about a sexual encounter" was relevant to the case.

Last month the Supreme Court rejected Smith's petition seeking a hearing on the case, effectively making the military appeals court's decision final.

The case had racial overtones because Smith, who is black, claimed his treatment was harsher than previously meted out to whites at the Coast Guard Academy accused of sexual impropriety. The Department of Homeland Security investigated the allegations in 2007 and denied the complaint.

"Many Supreme Court experts thought the high court might take Smith's case, but the justices declined the case without comment," according to the Law And Order blog found at

Efforts to speak with Smith and attorneys on both sides of the case were unsuccessful Monday. Smith, a former Coast Guard football star now living in Houston with his wife and daughter, spent nearly five months in a military prison after receiving a six-month sentence.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak said Monday that Smith's case is currently in the process of residual clemency, which will allow him to submit additional information before a review of his sentence by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Novak said Smith also has the right to seek a new trial before the Coast Guard appeals court, if he submits newly discovered evidence, and could also have his record cleared with a presidential pardon. According to Texas law, he will have to register as a sex offender, the National Law Journal reported.

The Smith case resulted in changes at the Coast Guard Academy, which formed a task force after the trial to look into the atmosphere on campus. The report cited a strong association between alcohol abuse and sexual assault as well as a mistrust of the Coast Guard Academy's leadership among minorities.

A subsequent study by the Government Accountability Office, issued in 2008 after a series of revelations about sexual misconduct at U.S. military academies, said the Coast Guard should be required to report on efforts to stem the tide of sexual assault and harassment cases.

The GAO noted the Coast Guard Academy was the only U.S. military school not required to report to Congress on sexual-misconduct cases.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

A carrot, a life-line, a last ditch chance to snatch a morsel of victory from the jaws of defeat, that is all that is left for the Little Dragon, Webster Smith.
All he needs is one little piece of "new evidence". WOW! Where can he get it?
I know. Shelly Raudenbush, or any one of his other former (girl)friends who lied at his court-martial. If only one of them has gotten religion in the last four years and wants to come to Jesus, he could get her to write a letter and say that she lied and her conscious is killing her and she wants to make things right. Or, even a sworn statement or an affidavit would be better.
If just one of them will "man-up", as a famous Moose-Hunter likes to say, and make a statement that they were mistaken in any one aspect of their testimony, that would constitute "NEW EVIDENCE". And Webster Smith would be back in business. That would breathe new life into the Little Dragon.

11:26 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

This is a balanced, well-written, and informative article. This case has pitted fathers against sons, alumni against active duty, and concerned citizens against the great unwashed. You have reported the facts well without editorializing. Thank you for staying on top of this story that has pulled on all our heart strings. We continue to pray for the families of all the cadets and officers who were involuntarily swept up into this meat grinder of dereliction of duty, abuse of power, bad judgement.

11:58 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

I believe that there is "new evidence" out there. It really would not take much to get one or more of the "Witnesses for the Prosecution" to make a statement clarifying what they testified to at trial. Several of the girls were almost reluctant witnesses. They were subtlely persuaded to testify using the herd mentality. I believe they regreted it afterwards and have had misgivings ever since. An attorney for Webster Smith with a good bedside manner could probably find persuasive new evidence if he were to just interview these young ladies. Someone must want to wipe their conscious clean.

12:15 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The opera is never over until the fat lady sings. Someone may be warming up in the wings, but she has yet to take the stage. As Yogi Berra used to say, "it ain't over 'til it's over".

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janet Napolitano has yet to sing.

2:50 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

7302658 said: I wonder if justice has really been served. How thorough was the investigations on these allegations/complaints? If there was additional evidence that the accuser was just as guilty, then there should be a new trial; I am surprised that the Supreme Court wouldn't hear of the case. Race could be a factor; was the accuser a white woman;isn't it always easier to believe that the accuser is innocent because she is white. Shades of Koby Bryant and his white accuser at the hotel in Denver Colorado...she made out big time, by the millions of dollars; of course, her co-conspirators helped. If he has the opportunity for a new trial, perhaps new evidence that his accuser was just as guilty; oh, by the way, I am a woman of Asian descent. I for one am of the opinion that the "incidnt" may have been consensual. It takes two to tango, always.

4:10 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

majrod said:One of the downsides of coed services is having the same problems as the civilian sector. Even though it happens on a less frequent basis per capita (a credit to the military's standards), these cases have just added a whole additional dimension of issues for leaders.

Smith sounds like a dirtbag. I would like to know the details behind acquitting the rape charge. Unfortunately the female cadet's violation of the fraternization regulation (which the Navy has been relieving officers left and right this year) should cause SERIOUS consideration if she is officer material. The problem is ANY action against the female will be painted as punishment by feminist activists.

Its a shame. It tarnishes both sexes, what "service" is really about and just provides proof of a double standard in many ways.

4:12 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

E5gunny said: I don't get it ! How can the Supreme Court take away someones Sixth Amendment Rights ???? We should all have the right to confront our acussers.
Over all I think they both blew it and the girls past conduct should have been considered. Additionally, women usualy get torn appart if the defence gets a shot at them even if they did get assulted. It's the legal system that is at fault here more than the two people involved. Now the new Supreme court is out of control making political desisions instead of legal ones.

4:14 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

9495822 said: For those of you saying that the female should also be punished, think about your sisters, mothers, and daughters. Do you realize how difficult it is to report a sexual assault, ESPECIALLY at a military academy? I went there and then went to a ship and have been groped, hit on, grabbed and cornered by bigger, stronger guys and never reported any of it because the consequences of reporting it were far worse than just dealing with it on my own.

The leadership there and in the CG in general doesn't actually care about these things, they just care about the perception to the public so as long as everyone glues a smile on their face and keeps their mouths shut, that's what matters. When I've really needed help, it wasn't there, trust me. I learned a long time ago I was on my own and to not trust anyone in leadership positions to protect anything but their own promotability and OERs.

4:20 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

12339432 said : As far as the Webster Smith case goes, I would caution anyone from commenting to strongly on this case, I was there and I met Smith while he was going through his article 32 hearing. This case was grossly mishandled and much of the facts on both sides have not been laid out here, and probably never will. It was unfortunate the way it was handled but there were many changes at the Academy because of this case.
We learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others, keep your eyes open and your mouth shut and always seek the truth.

4:22 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

21824737 said: After 35 years in the military, USN/USCG, and many years as a deputy sherrif, I never did like the fact that many lawyers, both procecutor and defense being able to prevent somone from uestioning their accusors or witnesses. I have always felt that everyone should be heard and questioned in a court of law. He may be guilty, but there is not enough evidence given in this story to make a decision. At any rate he should have been allowed to question the girl on the witness stand.

4:24 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

USNDiver56 said: As I look back over 2010, and look at ALL of the most outrages incidents that took place, and some of the most outrages defenses that were put up by some of the posters, all I want to say is the following: 1) If a boy wants to an Officer, please become a man first. 2) If a girl wants to an Officer, please become a woman first. 3) If either of you have gotten that far Please, Please consider the following...If either of you can't keep your pants/panties on any longer then 15 min's, for Gods sake change in to civilian clothes and get a Motel. And not to by pass the other ranks/rates, it would be nice if you do the same.
This year was not a "fun" time for Officers nor enlisted, folks we got to do better.
In closing.....Happy New Year!

4:32 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

22739256 said: HONOR - DUTY - COUNTRY
Is it possible that absolutely no one, except those directly involved, in the entire corps of 200 plus cadets and the Commandant of Cadet's staff, had any idea this kind of "criminal" activity was occurring on a regular and sustained basis in Chase Hall (the cadet barracks) and other Coast Guard Academy locations. Was there truely no one aware of what was going on especially upper-classman, lower-classman or staff members or did fear, intimidation, and political correctness override the Cadet Code of HONOR - DUTY - COUNTRY at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy?

4:34 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

22739256 said: This is old news. Boys, girls, living, training, working together, drinking, sex, pregnancies, abortions, criminal prosecutions, women's rights, civil rights... This stuff has been going full blast in the military since the 1970's. The leaders of all the military services like to pretend this stuff doesn't happen. They also like to pretend these issues have no impact on military readiness. Right - and pigs fly!


Men, women, black, white, brown, yellow, red, gay, strait, transgender?, transsexual, metro sexual, homosexual, uni-sexual, multi-sexual, heterosexual, married, unmarried, unrecognized gay marriages, civil unions, unrecognized civil unions, polygamists, with dependents, without dependents, adoption rights, civil rights, human rights, minority rights, military medical care, military hospitals, abortion rights, gender reassignment surgery, on base housing, off base housing, officers, enlisteds, cadets, fraternization, coercion, sexual favors, false accusations, hierarchy of rights, political correctness, cover-ups, mandatory sensitivity training...............

The possible combinations of issues, problems, special cases and special situations for military personnel, planners, and lawyers are now essentially infinite.

The new recipe is to put all or a mix of some of these folks, rights and issues together in a barracks, in a ship, in a submarine, on a base, or in a big brown bag and shake.

These issues will become more complicated and treacherous to a military person's career than actual combat.

Inexorably these additional stressors can only lead to diminished military preparedness and war fighting capabilities.


4:35 AM  

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