Monday, November 24, 2008

Pardon Webster Smith, Mr. President.

Dear President Bush,
Now is the time to act.
I believe a great travesty of justice has been committed. It appears that a gross miscarriage of justice was done at the Coast Guard Academy. For the first time in its 130-year history, the academy court-martialed a cadet, Webster Smith, a Black senior cadet from Texas.The entire process from the selection of prosecution to the jury selection was flawed.
The only evidence was the word of a couple of incredible females. No physical evidence whatsoever. In essence, a white word against a black word. We know how history reflects the word of a Black man, much less in a court martial case with no physical evidence.
Webster Smith has apologized for his behavior. Confession is good for the soul. It is the first step toward true rehabilitation. No one else involved in the entire episode has shown such strength of character. The Academy is a character building institution.Two Connecticut members of Congress took up the issue.
Congressman Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, led hearings on how officials were responding to reports of sexual assaults in the service academies. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, inserted a request in a Homeland Security spending bill for the Government Accountability Office to monitor the Coast Guard Academy's progress in responding to sexual harassment claims.
Christopher Shays was handily defeated for reelection. It appears that the voting public has lost its taste for such grandstanding.Now, Mr. President Bush, I call upon you to do the right thing. A "lame duck president" can still do a lot of good and improve his legacy. The economy may be out of your hands, but Webster Smith is not; and, he is a fellow "Texan".
Since he is from Houston, Texas, he had to register as a sex offender. That mark will follow him for the rest of his life, unless we can reverse the conviction.
The Associated Press characterized the trial as follows: “What began as a trial against an accused sexual predator ended looking more like a series of murky encounters between college students, with consent often clouded by alcohol. But the case also offered a rare and often unflattering glimpse at cadet life.” (Moment of change' following Coast Guard Academy court-martial By MATT APUZZO Associated Press Writer, July 3, 2006)
The Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy was asked to release Cadet Webster Smith from prison, reinstate him as a cadet, let him finish school, and graduate him with a commission. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Cadet Webster Smith was a victim of jealousy, racial discrimination, a violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause, and last but not the least, a victim of a double standard.
He was one of the most loved and respected cadets on campus. But he had two things going against him. One, he had dated the Regimental Commander, and the Dean of Admissions’ daughter. Both were white. Since they were white and Cadet Smith was Black, it did not sit well with the Commandant of Cadets.
Racial Prejudice is still very much alive at the Academy.
President Bush, you have granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement, according to The Associated Press.
The new round of White House pardons are your first since March and come less than two months before you will end your presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.
Mr. President, you have been stingy during his time in office about handing out such reprieves.Including these actions, you have granted a total of 171 and eight commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term presidents.
On the latest pardon list were:
_Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo. She was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
_Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.
_Richard Micheal Culpepper of Mahomet, Ill., who was convicted of making false statements to the federal government.
_Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer of Fort Worth, Texas, for reporting or helping cover up a crime.
_Andrew Foster Harley of Falls Church, Va. Harley was convicted of wrongful use and distribution of marijuana and cocaine.
_Obie Gene Helton of Rossville, Ga., whose offense was unauthorized acquisition of food stamps.
_Carey C. Hice Sr. of Travelers Rest, S.C., who was convicted of income tax evasion.
_Geneva Yvonne Hogg of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted of bank embezzlement.
_William Hoyle McCright Jr. of Midland, Texas, who was sentenced for making false entries, books, reports or statements to a bank.
_Paul Julian McCurdy of Sulphur, Okla., who was sentenced for misapplication of bank funds.
_Robert Earl Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana._Ronald Alan Mohrhoff of Los Angeles, who was convicted for unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.
_Daniel Figh Pue III of Conroe, Texas, convicted of illegal treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a permit.
_Orion Lynn Vick of White Hall, Ark., who was convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government property.
You also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses. Under the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.
Some high-profile individuals, such as Michael Milken, are seeking a pardon on securities fraud charges. Two politicians convicted of public corruption — former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and four-term Democratic Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards — are asking you to shorten their prison terms.
One hot topic of discussion related to pardons is whether you might decide to issue pre-emptive pardons before he leaves office to government employees who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Some constitutional scholars and human rights groups want the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to investigate possible war crimes. If you were to pardon former cadet Webster Smith, it would provide ample evidence that you have a heart and care about Sons of the Lonestar State. Such a pardon would not be controversial. It would be seen as humane and decent.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

450 E Street, Northwest

Washington, D.C. 20442-0001


United States v. Webster M. Smith, No. 08-0719/CG

(Appellee) (Appellant)

Counsel for Appellant: Ronald C. Machen, Esq.

Counsel for Appellee: LT Emily P. Reuter, USCG

Case Summary: GCM conviction of going from place of duty, attempting to disobey an order, sodomy, extortion, and indecent assault. Granted issue questions whether the military judge violated Appellant’s constitutional right to confront his accusers by limiting his cross-examination of [SR], the government’s only witness, on three of the five charges.

NOTE: Counsel for each side will be allotted 20 minutes to present oral argument in this case.


ichbinalj said...

President Bush paid a sentimental visit to Fort Campbell, Ky., on 25 Nov, telling soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division and other Army units that they are doing noble work that will be matter decades from now.

“The work you have done and are going to do is historical work,” the president said.
Throughout his presidency, Mr. Bush has seemed to enjoy visiting with members of the armed services, and they have rewarded his good wishes with rousing applause and cheers.
“You have performed with courage and distinction,” Mr. Bush told the troops.
With his days in the White House winding down, Mr. Bush said that, above all, he will miss spending time with America’s fighting men and women, “and I will always be thankful for the honor of having served as the commander in chief.”

ichbinalj said...

A Presidential pardon granted posthumously in recent years was given to Henry O. Flipper, the first Black graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Flipper was drummed out of the Army after white officers accused him of embezzling about $3,800 from commissary funds. Flipper initially discovered the funds missing from his custody and concealed their disappearance from superiors, hoping the money would return. Clinton gave Flipper a full pardon in 1999.
With this latest batch, which includes forgiveness for convictions ranging from gun and drug violations to bank and mail fraud, Bush has granted a total of 190 pardons and nine commutations. That's fewer than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Ronald Reagan issued during their two terms.
Well-known names were not on Bush's holiday pardon list. There have been efforts to get Bush to pardon former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was convicted in 2000 with four others in a scheme to rig riverboat casino licensing; disgraced track star Marion Jones, who lied about using steroids; Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, former U.S. Border Patrol agents who were convicted of shooting a drug smuggler in 2005 and trying to cover it up; and Michael Milken, junk bond king who was convicted of securities fraud.
In his most high-profile official act of forgiveness, Bush saved Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, from serving any prison time in the case of the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
Libby was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. Bush could still grant him a full pardon, although Libby has not applied for one.

ichbinalj said...

WASHINGTON – In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush
on 19 Jan 2009 commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border
Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer
ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration.

Bush's decision to commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose
Compean, who tried to cover up the shooting, was welcomed by both
Republican and Democratic members of Congress. They had long argued
that the agents were merely doing their jobs, defending the American
border against criminals. They also maintained that the more than
10-year prison sentences the pair was given were too harsh.

ichbinalj said...

Bush didn't pardon Ramos and Compean for their crimes, but decided instead to
commute their prison sentences because he believed they were excessive and that they had already suffered the loss of their jobs, freedom and
With the new acts of clemency, Bush has granted a total of 189 pardons
and 11 commutations.

ichbinalj said...

Clinton issued a total of 457 pardons in eight years in office. Bush's father,
George H. W. Bush, issued 77 in four years. Reagan issued 406 in eight
years, and President Carter issued 563 in four years. Since World War
II, the largest number of pardons and commutations — 2,031 — came from
President Truman, who served 82 days short of eight years.