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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 20th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Why Did General Sinclair Not Receive Jail Time?

I have been watching the news reaction in regards to the General Sinclair sentencing and found the analysis as I expected to be flawed:

(CNN) – A former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan was ordered Thursday to pay thousands of dollars but avoided prison time in a case that put a spotlight on the military’s handling of sexual misconduct among troops.

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was told he’d get a reprimand, and he must forfeit $20,000 and pay restitution of $4,157 related to travel fraud charges, his lawyer, Richard Scheff, said.

Sinclair’s court-martial came at a time when many have accused the military of not doing enough to address sex crimes and harassment targeting women. [CNN]

You can read the rest at the link, but don’t bother because it is because it is just more of the same flawed analysis often seen in the media on this issue. The common theme I have seen today in the media is surprise he received no jail time for the adultery and inappropriate relationship charges. However what the media fails to tell people is that many of the crimes he was convicted would not be crimes in a civilian court. Adultery and having sex with subordinates in the civilian world can lead to the loss of your job or career which is what this sentencing did to Sinclair. How quickly we forget that a US President did the same thing Sinclair did and he did not go to jail and he even got to keep his job.

However with that all said I am surprised Sinclair did not get jail time. Usually in just adultery cases the person convicted does not go to jail. For example in USFK court martial results for December 2013 saw an E7 convicted of adultery and receiving no jail time. However for people that commit adultery combined with other crimes they do usually get jail time. For example in the May 2013 USFK court martial results the E6 involved in the pellet gun incident in Itaewon was court martial end for adultery, inappropriate relationship, and disobeying orders. He received 8 months in jail.

What I think Sinclair deserves jail time for are the government travel card charges. He spent thousands of dollars on the governments dime to go see his Captain mistress. How is this any different then all the soldiers who go to jail for BAH fraud? For example in the February 2011 USFK court martial results an E6 received 22 months in jail for BAH fraud.

I am sure the judge took into account Sinclair’s outstanding service history and lack of past crimes for sentencing, but I have to wonder if the over prosecution by the government and the biased and sensational media coverage also played into the sentencing? Maybe one of the JAGs who read this site can enlighten us with what they think of the sentencing.

Finally how long do people think it will be before the special interests blame the Army for covering up for Sinclair while not mentioning the lies told by the accuser to include lies on the stand? Additionally they will likely not mention the government’s over prosecution and command influence due to political pressure that caused the jury to be thrown out. However I expect special interests not to tell the whole truth, what bothers is when the media does not keep them honest and on this issue is even complicit with them.

By the way does anyone think the accuser will be charged with perjury?

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15
  • M. Will
    6:08 pm on March 20th, 2014 1

    Finally it is nice to read an intelligent comment to this case. I just got BLASTED by other GI’s for my differing opinion on another forum. Thank you for your analysis.

  • Leon LaPorte
    6:37 pm on March 20th, 2014 2

    Thanks Obammy.

  • Ole Tanker
    8:16 pm on March 20th, 2014 3

    It is clear women are dirty worthless bags of trassh not worth a second thought. Let that slut captain crawl under a rock and die.

    Dont’t f%ck with us B@itch!!

  • BBBBBBBBBELL
    9:47 pm on March 20th, 2014 4

    A lot of AFN commercials on policy have lost their already weak credibility.

  • guitard
    11:03 pm on March 20th, 2014 5

    What I think Sinclair deserves jail time for are the government travel card charges. He spent thousands of dollars on the governments dime to go see his Captain mistress.

    Did he claim this as official travel and have the gov’t pay for it, or did he just use his gov’t travel card as a personal credit card and pay it off with his own money?

    While both of these are wrong, one is a much bigger crime than the other.

  • JoeC
    12:27 am on March 21st, 2014 6

    Now the precedent is set, let the word go out. Adultery and superior-subordinate sexual relationships are officially less than misdemeanors in the military.

    So what was all that hubbub about with those drill sergeants at Lackland last year?

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    5:02 am on March 21st, 2014 7

    @5- I do not have time to find the article right now, but what he did was that he had two TDYs where the events were cancelled but he went anyway to meet up with the Captain. So he did not use it as a personal credit card since these were planned TDYs, but regardless this is theft of thousands of dollars of government money just so he could sleep around with his mistress. I do not see this as being any different as these soldiers who steal money intended for housing with BAH fraud.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    5:17 am on March 21st, 2014 8

    @6- The precedent has already been set a long time ago. Do you know anyone that has gone to jail for adultery and inappropriate relationship in the Army? I have been digging through the court martial results trying to find one and the people who go to jail with adultery charges are those with more serious charges added to them. Here is an E8 that got charged with adultery and other lesser charges and received a $1,000 fine:

    At a Summary Court-Martial on 6 March 2013, Master Sergeant Ronnie W. Wallett, A Company, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, was convicted of one specification of violating a general regulation for wrongfully engaging in a prohibited relationship with Corporal R.A.W., in violation of Article 92, UCMJ, two specifications of making a false official statement, in violation of Article 107, UCMJ, one specification of adultery, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ, one specification of wrongful cohabitation, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ, two specifications of obstructing justice, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ, and one specification of willful disobedience of a superior commissioned officer, in violation of Article 90, UCMJ. He was sentenced to forfeiture of $1,000 pay.

    Here is another NCO that was convicted for inappropriate relationship and she received no jail time:

    At a Summary Court-Martial on 14 March 2013, SGT Tracy Varwig, 19th Personnel Company, 501st STB, 501st SBDE, 19th ESC, APO AP 96205, was found guilty of two specifications of Article 92 for inappropriate relationship and barracks policy violation. She was found not guilty of three specifications of assault and one specification of drunk and disorderly. She was sentenced to, reduction to the grade of E-4, 30 days restriction. Clemency granted for 15 days restriction.

    Here is an example of another guy convicted of adultery receiving no jail time:

    At a Summary Court-Martial on 16 January 2013, SPC Bruce J. Debarros, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 25th Transportation Battalion, APO AP 96218, was found guilty of one specification of adultery, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ. He was sentenced to reduction to the grade of E2, and forfeiture of $1133.00 dollars for one (1) month.

    So not receiving jail time for inappropriate relationships and adultery which are not crimes in the civilian world has long been established, it is the other charges that get attached to them that get you jail which is why I have been saying he should have gotten a few months in jail for the government travel card fraud. However, you look at past General’s who did nearly the same thing as Sinclair with their official travel they received no jail time either. If every servicemember that has an inappropriate relationship or commits adultery should automatically go to jail then we better start expanding our military prison system in a hurry.

  • Louis Dechert
    5:25 am on March 21st, 2014 9

    Good work, GI. Your conclusions appear to be correct.

  • Louis Dechert
    5:31 am on March 21st, 2014 10

    By the way, in some states and or cities adultery and fornication were formerly civilian crimes. I remember in my first week of duty at Fort Bragg, 1961,a married Army Lt was being tried for illegal cohabitation in Fayetteville (a shack job).

  • Angel of Retribution
    8:26 am on March 21st, 2014 11

    7 “I do not have time to find the article right now, but what he did was that he had two TDYs where the events were cancelled but he went anyway to meet up with the Captain.”

    Here is the charge sheet:

    http://www.fortbraggpresscenter.com/external/content/document/5287/1663395/1/BG%20Sinclair%20-%20Redacted%20charge%20sheet%20Dec%202012.pdf

    Under Charge VI: Specifications 1 and 2 amount to the restitution handed down minus $.50. Now GI Korea tells us these travel vouchers relate to conferences which got cancelled. This is pure conjecture, but perhaps BG Sinclair still had borderline legit reasons to go to Hood and Huachuca anyhow. Perhaps he brought documents which needed to be delivered or met with leaders to confer on important stuff. Certainly these are matters which could be dealt with more efficiently with emails, phone calls, sending lower ranking people, etc but could have clouded up matters enough to make slamming Sinclair with jail time iffy.

    On another note, its frustating seeing the punditry steamed up for no jail time for adultery when they normally have contempt for the concept of adultery as a crime (ie, Kelly Flinn). You just know if instead of BG Sinclair having an affair with Captain X it was BG X having an affair with CPT Sinclair, the attitude would be completely different.

  • guitard
    10:39 am on March 21st, 2014 12

    Perhaps he brought documents which needed to be delivered or met with leaders to confer on important stuff. Certainly these are matters which could be dealt with more efficiently with emails, phone calls, sending lower ranking people, etc

    Where I work, every single 1610 has to have a statement that says (paraphrasing here), “This business cannot be conducted via VTC.” If the order doesn’t have that statement, it will not be processed.

  • Angel of Retribution
    3:07 pm on March 21st, 2014 13

    15: Bah! I’ve been practicing law for 13 years and I could twist that statement like a pretzel in a couple ways. And I suck at lawyering compared to BG Sinclair’s lead counsel. If you get right down to it, the cancelled conferences Sinclair was supposed to go to probably could have been conducted by teleconference…

  • Robert M Dorey
    3:37 pm on March 21st, 2014 14

    Cause his a General

  • JoeC
    12:32 am on April 4th, 2014 15

    The other side of the story.

 

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