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SECNAV Boots Two Sergeants for Lying At Haditha Court-Martial
Neal Puckett ^ | 4-20-2012 | Neal Puckett

Posted on 04/20/2012 9:50:38 AM PDT by smoothsailing

April 20, 2012

SECNAV Boots Two Sergeants for Lying At Haditha Court-Martial

Neal Puckett

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has ordered administrative separation processing of two squad members who testified against SSgt Wuterich in January and admitted lying to NCIS and on the stand about the November 2005 shooting deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. 

During the January 2012 court-martial of the squad leader, SSgt Wuterich, Sgt’s Humberto M. Mendoza and Sanick P. Dela Cruz testified on the stand that they lied to NCIS during the investigation, the Article 32 investigations and withheld information.  Their motivation to do so was unclear, even as Mendoza attempted to say he didn’t tell the truth because he was protecting his men. 

SECNAV sent an April 19, 2012 letter to Commandant General Jim Amos stating “such conduct is wholly inconsistent with the core values of the Department of the Navy.”  SECNAV directed the Commandant to “immediately initiate administrative processing … for administrative separation is in the best interest of the service.”

The government presented the two Sergeants and two other members of the squad who had separated from the Marine Corps as witnesses against SSgt Wuterich in an attempt to focus the responsibility of the civilian deaths on the squad leader.  The fact that Dela Cruz and Mendoza had provided the same testimony at an Article 32 Hearing and were in fact, proven to have been lying at the hearing, didn’t seem to bother the prosecutors as they built their case against SSgt Wuterich on that testimony.  

At what point does the Marine Corps owe an apology to the public and to the former SSgt Wuterich, now a civilian, for building a case against him based on proven perjury?  SECNAV’s directive to ADSEP the two Sergeants is the first step.  Neal Puckett, his lead defense counsel, hailed this move as true justice in a case fraught with injustice for nearly six years.  He wonders what this means for the prosecutors who were told by NCIS agents that one of the Marines, then Cpl Dela Cruz, lied during interviews after his charges were dismissed, yet persisted in sponsoring his testimony at the 2007 Article 32 hearing and 2012 trial of SSgt Wuterich.  

Read the News Article here.



TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: haditha

Dela Cruz & Mendoza

Original Master Thread-Wuterich Court Martial

1 posted on 04/20/2012 9:50:47 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo; RedRover

Haditha Marines Ping.


2 posted on 04/20/2012 9:52:22 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Has he forgotten that it depends on what the “meaning of is, is”? Why are these Sergeants held to a higher standard than a former “commander in chief”?


3 posted on 04/20/2012 9:56:53 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (Sworn to Defend The Constitution Against ALL Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. So Help Me GOD!)
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To: smoothsailing; RedRover; 4woodenboats; American Cabalist; AmericanYankee; amom; AndrewWalden; ...
Good for Neal Puckett.

.

HADITHA MARINE PING!

4 posted on 04/20/2012 9:59:19 AM PDT by jazusamo (Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud: Thomas Sowell)
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To: The Sons of Liberty
Why are these Sergeants held to a higher standard than a former “commander in chief”?

Because they're Marines. Lying to implicate their staff sergeant and to save their own asses is disgraceful.

5 posted on 04/20/2012 9:59:30 AM PDT by Bruce Campbells Chin
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To: The Sons of Liberty
Why are these Sergeants held to a higher standard than a former “commander in chief”

Because they are the little people, don't have any money or powerful connections. In other words they are expendable.I'm not saying what they did was right though as I don't know enough about the story.

6 posted on 04/20/2012 10:03:16 AM PDT by trailhkr1 (All you need to know about Zimmerman, innocent = riots, manslaughter = riots, guilty = riots)
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To: smoothsailing

They lied to Leroy Jethro Gibbs?

They are lucky they only got booted.

lol


7 posted on 04/20/2012 10:04:23 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks for posting this, Smooth.


8 posted on 04/20/2012 10:05:20 AM PDT by jazusamo ("Intellect is not wisdom" -- Thomas Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing

The Investigators did not want facts I’ll bet. I was on leave in the Army and came back to find the barracks locked down because a M3 grease gun came up missing. CID investigator told me of a conversation I had of several guys sitting around speculating. He demanded I tell him about the gossip session. I told him no as I have no facts to help him. He threaten me with court martial and I told him I need a lawyer.


9 posted on 04/20/2012 10:17:15 AM PDT by the_daug
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for the heads up here. Bttt


10 posted on 04/20/2012 10:26:31 AM PDT by amom
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To: The Sons of Liberty

Would you doubt, even for a second, that the USMC has a higher standard for its service members than the we do for Congress and the Executive Branch?


11 posted on 04/20/2012 10:28:53 AM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: smoothsailing

Any one know what type of discharges this could lead to? And benefits? Just curious.


12 posted on 04/20/2012 10:31:22 AM PDT by amom
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To: jazusamo; smoothsailing

Interesting turn of events.


13 posted on 04/20/2012 10:39:23 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle
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To: amom

Even though they were granted immunity from prosecution for their actions in the Haditha incident itself, as far as I know the false statements and testimony are a seperate matter.

Since deliberate deceit does direct dishonor to Corps Fidelity, I would think discharges could be less than Honorable and benefits withheld.


14 posted on 04/20/2012 10:55:16 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: amom

An admin sep means they can’t get a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge-those have to be awarded by court-marital. The worst they could get would be an other than honorable. That will hurt them as far as benefits but exactly how much is determined on an individual basis and by the VA, not the Marines. But seeing as how it is SECNAV himself ordering their separation, if he wants the VA to screw them, no doubt they’ll be screwed.


15 posted on 04/20/2012 10:56:23 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: smoothsailing
Since deliberate deceit does direct dishonor to Corps Fidelity, I would think discharges could be less than Honorable and benefits withheld.

That depends on how much hay the Corps thinks these two will make upon separation. Other Than Honorable discharges can be appealed after 6 month, and possibly upgraded to Good Conduct. If the government feels these guys are going to make a stink, they'll get OTHs. If they think these guys will roll over, they push for Bad Conduct Discharges. This is one of those cases where they can send a very clear message to the rank and file, and they may do it.

That's just my 2 cents.

16 posted on 04/20/2012 11:03:02 AM PDT by Turbo Pig (...to close with and destroy the enemy...)
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To: smoothsailing

ping


17 posted on 04/20/2012 11:18:12 AM PDT by Lmo56 (If ya wanna run with the big dawgs - ya gotta learn to piss in the tall grass ...)
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To: Turbo Pig

These are Administrative Seperations directed by the SECNAV.

The worst they can get will be Other Than Honorable.

A Bad Conduct Discharge is a punitive seperation that would first require a special or general court-martial, IIRC.


18 posted on 04/20/2012 11:26:16 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: amom

Could be either a General (under honorable conditions) or Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC). A General, as a rule, doesn’t deprive the member of benefits because it’s “under honorable conditions”. A UOTHC results in loss of most veteran benefits. No matter whether I think they deserve a UOTHC, it’s unlawful command influence for SECNAF to direct an administrative discharge - that’s the decision of the unit commander, to be acted on by the Special Court Martial Convening Authority. As a former military defense counsel, I’d have a ball with the procedural aspects of that case. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is perfectly applicable here. And these men are scum, unworthy “to claim the title of United States Marine”.


19 posted on 04/20/2012 11:52:43 AM PDT by jagusafr ("Write in Palin and prepare for war...")
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To: Turbo Pig

Remember, the Big Chicken Dinner can only be assessed by a court martial. Based on their sworn testimony that they lied, only “a scintilla” (itty bitty bit) of evidence is needed to support a confession. I don’t know that these marines have a leg to stand on. Also, I’ve never - not a single time in my 26 years of active and reserve service as a JAG - seen a UOTHC upgraded to an Honorable, except on the basis of newly discovered evidence pointing to the innocence of the accused.


20 posted on 04/20/2012 11:56:58 AM PDT by jagusafr ("Write in Palin and prepare for war...")
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To: smoothsailing

“Their motivation to do so was unclear”

Here’s how that works in similir situations:

The troops are told “Command want results and the political heat off!”
“We’re looking to you to make that happen!”
“Any questions?”

No need to mention any positive or negative incentives.


21 posted on 04/20/2012 12:02:26 PM PDT by G Larry (We are NOT obliged to carry the snake in our pocket and then dismiss the bites as natural behavior.)
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To: Little Ray
I've always known that the members of our Armed Forces are held to a higher standard than the two-bit politicians in the legislative, executive and judicial branches. They serve, not for self aggrandizement or power, like the politicians, but for love of country.
22 posted on 04/20/2012 12:08:16 PM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (Sworn to Defend The Constitution Against ALL Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. So Help Me GOD!)
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To: jagusafr
I’ve never - not a single time in my 26 years of active and reserve service as a JAG - seen a UOTHC upgraded to an Honorable, except on the basis of newly discovered evidence pointing to the innocence of the accused.

Good point. My perspective my be a bit scewd. I saw it happen twice in 10 years. Of course as you say new evidence was presented in both cases. Hmm, maybe I should have picked a better crowd to hang around...all these guys I knew getting in trouble..YIKES :-)

23 posted on 04/20/2012 12:09:26 PM PDT by Turbo Pig (...to close with and destroy the enemy...)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

No one should be punished for perjury in this country after the media, congress and the people let Bill Clinton off scot free. If I was on a jury in a perjury trial I would never vote to convict.


24 posted on 04/20/2012 12:15:28 PM PDT by Valentine Michael Smith (Sic Transit Gloria Mundi)
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To: smoothsailing

ping me when Col. Sean Sullivan receives some form of punishment. Until then, this is just CYA posturing by the Brass to divert attention from their own malfeasance. These guys are indeed despicable, but they were led and used by the prosecution to get the others.


25 posted on 04/20/2012 12:41:28 PM PDT by tarheelswamprat
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To: tarheelswamprat
ping me when Col. Sean Sullivan receives some form of punishment.

I would be delighted to do so, Sullivan is a detestable weasel.

26 posted on 04/20/2012 12:46:49 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Bruce Campbells Chin; tarheelswamprat

“He wonders what this means for the prosecutors who were told by NCIS agents that one of the Marines, then Cpl Dela Cruz, lied during interviews after his charges were dismissed, yet persisted in sponsoring his testimony at the 2007 Article 32 hearing and 2012 trial of SSgt Wuterich. “


27 posted on 04/20/2012 1:31:33 PM PDT by Yehuda (http://jewpoint.blogspot.com)
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To: Turbo Pig

I dunno - sounds like you’re in the “in a world of blind men, the one-eyed man is king” scenario! Gotta stay positive! Have a good weekend.

Colonel, USAFR


28 posted on 04/20/2012 1:53:32 PM PDT by jagusafr ("Write in Palin and prepare for war...")
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To: tarheelswamprat

Agree, tarheelswamprat.

I have a sneaking suspicion if SSGt Wuterich had been convicted based on their testimony, nothing would have happened to these two Marines.


29 posted on 04/20/2012 3:33:09 PM PDT by Girlene
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To: smoothsailing

Thanks for posting this. Needless to say these two “scumbags” deserve nothing less than a dishonorable discharge and loss of all benefits. They lied to save their own asses and made life a living hell for 6 years for our family.


30 posted on 04/20/2012 4:24:29 PM PDT by Semper Fi Mom (Mother of a Marine and proud of it! (www.WeSupport Frank.com))
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To: Girlene

Yes, the government was determined to get somebody’s scalp to save face.


31 posted on 04/20/2012 4:27:53 PM PDT by tarheelswamprat
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To: jazusamo

Good on ya, Mr. Puckett!


32 posted on 04/20/2012 5:04:01 PM PDT by Velveeta (ABO)
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To: smoothsailing; GATOR NAVY; jagusafr
Thanks to each of you for responding to my question regarding types of discharge and benefits.

jafusafr: "...it’s unlawful command influence for SECNAF to direct an administrative discharge - that’s the decision of the unit commander, to be acted on by the Special Court Martial Convening Authority. As a former military defense counsel, I’d have a ball with the procedural aspects of that case. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is perfectly applicable here..."

Noted. Thank you.

33 posted on 04/20/2012 5:16:44 PM PDT by amom
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To: amom

Note to self.

This is the same Navy Secretary who decided to stick to his decision to “Name Warship for Murtha Despite Protests”.

http://www.military.com/news/article/ship-to-bear-murtha-name-despite-dissent.html

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.


34 posted on 04/20/2012 5:30:05 PM PDT by amom
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To: Semper Fi Mom

Absolutely, Mom. I hope they get the max.

Since it’s an ADSEP, I believe the best we can hope for is a General Discharge Under Other Than Honorable Conditions and forfeiture of all benefits. It will serve them right, even though they deserve worse.

As always, all the best to you and yours. :)


35 posted on 04/20/2012 6:02:25 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: amom; All
.


36 posted on 04/20/2012 6:06:33 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Grrrrrrr.


37 posted on 04/20/2012 6:14:25 PM PDT by amom
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