I am a civilian attorney who practices military criminal defense law. My client, Special Marcus Marshall has given me permission to tell his story, as it highlights an ongoing case of injustice at Fort Hood, Texas.
SPC Marshall was forced to go AWOL after being refused adequate medical care by his unit prior to a deployment. Upon return, he was prosecuted by the Army for his "crime" and sentenced in a Summary Court-Martial to 15 days in prison, reduction of rank, loss of pay and an Other than Honorable Discharge.
My client attempted to get character reference letters from other NCO's (non commissioned officers) that he served with, but he was told by 3 of them that they could not write such letters because they were instructed that it would be bad for their careers if they did so.
This is a clear violation of the law and is an example of UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE (UCI) by his unit (2/12 CAV, Rear-D, Fort Hood, Texas). My client attempted to present evidence of the existence of UCI, but one of the NCO's who told him about the UCI decided to change his story, and another NCO's was conveniently unavailable to testify.
So my client was still sentenced and he went to jail. But the injustice continues on, as my client was sent to the Bell County jail in Belton, Texas to do his time. The problem with this is that my client is currently being held with civilian prisoners, some of which who are in the jail for violent crimes. This is a clear violation of AR 190-47, which requires that military prisoners held in civilian contract facilities be segregated from civilian prisoners.
Based on these facts, I have submitted a request for the convening authority to suspend the remainder of SPC Marshall's sentence and to grant him a better discharge.
But on the bigger picture, it is time for Fort Hood to follow the law. Military prisoners cannot legally be held in civilian facilities unless the civilian facilities are going to follow the law.
Readers are encouraged to write to Fort Hood commander, LT General Rick Lynch to ask him to change this unlawful policy immediately.
His address is:
LTG Rick Lynch
Commander, III Corps
Fort Hood, TX 76544