Astonishing Corruption Once Again Exposed in Air Force Sexual Assault Case
An astonishing level of corruption in the Air Force JAG Corps has once again been exposed in an opinion written by the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. This again is proof the military judicial system is a threat to National Security and those responsible need to be held accountable!
On March 15, 2018, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals reached a decision in the sexual assault case of Senior Airman Frank Vargas and as a result set aside his conviction. Save Our Heroes is not going to get into the merits of the case, or debate evidence, because that is not the issue. What is shocking is what caused the appellate court to set aside his conviction and the corruption exposed. The Court’s opinion clearly states a significant number of attorneys in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps, including a number of prosecutors, attorneys in various appellate levels, and a Special Victim Counsel, used Unlawful Command Influence and corruption to insure an Airman was convicted for sexual assault.
Senior Airman Vargas was convicted by a General Court-Martial panel for specifications of sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, and assault consummated by a battery. The case involved four victims and Vargas was sentenced to confinement for 29 years, reduced to E-1, and dishonorably discharged. The trial lasted for 15 days, 16 motions were filed and the record of trial contains 16 volumes. There were over 1,800 pages of transcripts with 26 prosecution exhibits, and 13 defense exhibits. Airman Vargas’ filed an appeal which was heard after having to wait over a year and a half. Vargas’ appeal focused on the Court’s Unlawful Command Influence in his original trial and its associated corruption.
In the appeal, the Appellate Court identified how prosecutors had concerns about the case’s validity, knew there were multiple witnesses favorable to the defense, and were concerned about the judge assigned to Airman Vargas’ Court Martial. The prosecutors did not want the judge to be assigned to the case because he had previously ruled in favor of other defendants accused of sexual misconduct when evidence was insufficient of guilt. In addition, this judge during his rulings chided JAG prosecutors for failing to comply with discovery obligations. Because of their concern about the original Court Martial judge, the AF JAGs, Attorneys, and the Special Victim Counsel all conspired behind closed to get this judge removed from the case. Shockingly, their corruptive plan worked and the judge was removed. A whistleblower, another Special Victim Counsel, blew the lid off the entire charade when he came forward to report this misconduct by his fellow attorneys.
So, the question that must be asked is why?
Plainly said, the removed judge was fair, unbiased, judged on evidence, and did not tolerate prosecutors hiding evidence of innocence. So the JAG prosecutors, SVC and other JAG attorneys concocted an elaborate scheme to get rid of the judge because they were concerned that he may not have convicted Vargas. Essentially, they just wanted him removed from overseeing sexual assault cases, but apparently, he was fine with all other cases. This appellate decision exposed was the fact that AF JAG sexual assault prosecutors and others engaged in an elaborate scheme to get rid of a judge who ruled fairly, and who probably would not automatically rubber stamp a sexual assault conviction. Bottom-line the appellate decision proves once again the ‘deep state’ of corruption within the politically influenced military judicial system.
This recent appellate decision has rocked the legal community. No longer is Save Our Heroes the only entity saying this is a threat to national security. Attorney forums have been brutal on the actions of the AF JAG prosecutors and others engaged in this scheme, calling their actions disgraceful, unconscionable and illegal. Many have called for ethics investigations. Here are some of the comments found on various attorney forums. We are only providing these comments that show the outrage that many in the legal community have with the brazen misconduct by the AF JAG personnel involved in this decision.
“This is outrageous. The idea that a random SVC or TC would be so brazen about their attempts to remove a qualified judge makes me question their judgment to be attorneys in the first place. What a sneaky, underhanded attempt to circumvent the rule of law. Those involved should lose their license.”
“If all of this is accurate, how is it not more of a scandal? Why aren’t names being named? Jobs being lost? Adverse paperwork being issued? Complaints being made to the ethics and professional responsibility office? One conviction may have been set aside, but how does that return confidence in a system in which some STC and SVC who have their nose out of joint can get a judge removed from any case, let alone a category of cases, because they perceive the judge is not receptive to their position?”
“why would you think heads are rolling behind the scenes when you have a situation that involved prosecutors (and amici prosecutoriae aka SVCs) at wing, numbered air force, major command and HQ levels involved?? The only head that might be rolling is that “former SVC” who had the guts to say something. One would hope this would prompt an inquiry at the DoD-level, but it won’t. A decision was made to remove a judge from Article 120 [sexual assault] cases who might well be a good judge to go judge-alone for your forum and who would hold the prosecutors accountable for the cases they take to trial for one thing – more Article 120 convictions. Why was Article 120 amended (and amended) – to get more Article 120 convictions. Why was the SVC program created – to get more Article 120 convictions. Why was Art 32 gutted – to get more Article 120 convictions. Everything in the system has been impacted by the effort to get more Article 120 convictions because that’s what you do when you don’t have good facts to support your prosecution. You should know by now that we have a military justice system and we have an Article 120 [sexual assault] system.”
“This dysfunctional MJ system is a direct threat to our national security.”
“This behavior is shocking to my conscience. These are ATTORNEYS. They are entrusted with unbelievable prosecutorial powers and military officers entrusted with extremely powerful decision-making abilities. This behavior needs to end. Now. If anyone in any power cares – really cares – about restoring a scintilla of faith in the MJ process, I’d suggest a full Congressional inquiry into this and take it very seriously. Flag every officer involved in the allegation. Report to their state bars to get them disbarred and prosecute and/or BOI any of them for wrongdoing. This is simply unbelievable.”
Obviously, there are a significant number of ethical legal professionals who are outraged.
Save Our Heroes has been saying this since our inception, the military judicial system has turned into a ‘Kangaroo Court’. The system will go to corruptive lengths to send all accusations to court martial, and convict by any means necessary. This decision, and the exposure of such malfeasance, misconduct, and outright corruption with those in the military prosecutorial and judicial system once again validates our claim.
Save Our Heroes has been quick to point out and call out disingenuous and unethical military prosecutors and have filed a number of state bar complaints when evidence is present of such misconduct. We have also been quick to point out when military prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges act with professionalism and integrity.
In the Vargas case, it was another Special Victim Counsel who had knowledge and evidence of this elaborate scheme by colleagues to blow the whistle off the entire charade, to which we say, ‘Bravo Sir,’ you have upheld the dignity of your profession.
We don’t yet know the names of those unethical Air Force JAG Corps personnel who engaged in this conspiracy, but when we find out, we will be certain to inform our readers and file official complaints. Save Our Heroes will make its fifth trip to Capitol Hill in April and once again push for Congressional Hearings on the military judicial process. Save Our Heroes would like Congress to hear directly from those in charge of the corruptive system. These legal professionals need to explain to the American public why they are ignoring basic Constitutional norms to conform to political influence.
The Appellate Court’s 14-page decision can be found at the following link: http://afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/vargas_-38991.u.pdf