Remember the case of Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson the former Kunsan squadron commander who was convicted of sexual assault? Well the convening authority decided to drop the charges against him:
The sexual-assault conviction of the 31st Fighter Wing’s former inspector general was set aside by the Third Air Force commander Tuesday, releasing the fighter pilot from jail and reinstating him into the Air Force.
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin dismissed the case against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, who after a weeklong trial in November at Aviano Air Base, Italy, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to a year in jail, forfeiture of all pay and dismissal from the service.
Franklin, the authority who convened Wilkerson’s court-martial and a former commander of the 31st Fighter Wing who is also an F-16 pilot, declined to provide specifics on why he overruled the verdict and sentence reached by the jury of four colonels and one lieutenant colonel.
A written statement from the Third Air Force said that “… after careful deliberation” Franklin had “concluded that the entire body of evidence was insufficient to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Why Franklin found reasonable doubt where jurors had not wasn’t clear.
“He did look at the same [evidence] that the jury looked at,” said Lt. Col. Paul Baldwin, a Third Air Force spokesman. [Stars & Stripes]
You can read the rest at the link, but like I mentioned when I originally covered this story, it is a tough one to draw firm conclusions on since it was the husband and wife’s word against the accuser. However, I cannot get over what the accuser had to gain from this? Maybe the convening authority overruled the jury because they were going by the old rules of conviction where people accused of sexual assault in the military are guilty until proven innocent which was found to be un-Constitutional. This led to servicemembers convicted of rape before to have their cases overturned. The convening authority maybe saw similarities with this case as the ones that were dismissed and thus dropped the conviction?