Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pick of the Week: Ashby and Schweitzer headed back to NMCCA

The long and tortured sage of United States v. Schweitzer and United States v. Ashby is not over yet. They may have to recall a certain Marine Major to re-litigate these. On May 10 and June 27, the N-MCCA decided Schweitzer and Ashby, respectively. For those that don't remember the tortured saga of these two Marine aviators a few words will refresh your recollection, EA-6B Prowler meets ski gondola in Aviano, Italy.

Ashby and Schweitzer ultimately pled guilty to relatively minor charges for the 1998 offenses, but more than a year after the tragedy in the Italian Alps (1999). A year later the sentences were approved by the convening authority (2000). Two to three years later the defense counsel filed their briefs (2002 and 2003). The government filed answers in 2003 and 2004. And, as noted above, N-MCCA expeditiously decided the cases in . . . . 2007. As one of our astute commenters noted, the Schweitzer and Ashby opinions include the following quote, "A sentence should not be disturbed on appeal, 'unless the harshness of the sentence is so disproportionate as to cry out for sentence equalization.' United States v. Usry, 9 M.J. 701, 704 (N.C.M.R. 1980)." Glad to see someone thought through including that quote in those particularly tortured cases. CAAF should grant sentence relief just for delaying the case, yet again. Considering the six months confinement/dismissal that one officer received and dismissal that the other officer received, any meaningful relief would essentially be a pardon and/or windfall for those officers. I know some N-MCCA court clerks, please tell me you guys didn't drop that quote in there?

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