Charges against a Marine accused of urinating on Taliban corpses have been dismissed after a former high-ranking general attempted to use his influence to “crush” the accused.
The Marine Times reports that Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin was reduced to the rank of sergeant and had to pay a $500 fine after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the initial incident – which happened in Afghanistan in 2011.
The act was captured on video and posted to YouTube causing an international scandal and a military investigation. However, it appears to have been how the case was handled in military courts that ultimately doomed the case against Chamblin.
The court dismissed the charges after Commandant Gen. James Amos allegedly attempted to use his influence to replace Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser as the first convening authority.
Citing the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals, the Marine Times reports that Amos told Waldhauser that he wanted the Marines involved with the urination incident to be “crushed” and discharged.
A court affidavit also reveals that Amos asked Waldhauser why he didn’t feel this case warranted a general court-martial – something reserved for the most serious offenses. The court ruled this whole incident was an “unusually flagrant example of UCI” or unlawful command influence.
The Marine Times reports that Amos later admitted that he had gone too far but decided to have Waldhauser replaced anyway – this time to allegedly avoid exposing all involved in the trial to Amos’s influence.
But the court found that this didn’t go far enough since, according to Corps officials, Chamblin’s defense attorneys were not made aware of Amos’ conduct behind the scenes of the case.
“The appellant had a right to discovery and a right to judicial process free from UCI,” the Times wrote attributing to the court. “An accused does not forfeit his right to discovery because the government’s preferred UCI remedy requires it.”
According to the Times, the court also found that Amos “undermined the general public’s confidence in the proceedings’ independence and impartiality including that he held a briefing that included pictures of the Marines urinating on Taliban corpses along with the words, ‘What Does America Think of Her Marines Today’.”
In the end, Amos and other Corps officials were found to have violated a Marine’s due process rights through their interference in the case.
Read the full Marine Times report here: bit.ly/2zK1xEV