Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I just didn't agree with you

Every JAG gets their first court.  Will it be a sex case?  Child porn?  Drugs?  Mine was none of these, but was the first in a string of copper thieves.  And, since I like to give my cases Nancy Drew names, I called this one:

Lieutenant Colonel Vivians and the Case of the Missing Copper

See?  Doesn't that make it more fun?  Anyway, there were four stupid Airmen all stealing copper wire from a warehouse, when they were supposed to be moving it.  I guess technically they moved it...to their house.  They'd strip off the wire then go off-base to sell the copper for cash.  Nice, huh?  Wish I'd thought of it.  Oh wait, no, that's illegal.  It violates Article 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (conspiracy), 108 (larceny), 121 (wrongful sale of government property) and we threw in a little Article 92 actions (failure to obey an order) because none of them could keep their trap shut when the cops told them not to discuss the case.

So I went first with my guy...the ringleader.  And, it was a guilty plea - he admitted to EVERYTHING!  Already starting with a "win".  I like it.  Now, all I have to do is get the judge to grant a good solid sentence to set the tone for all the rest of the courts and to break the ice with my first case by getting some good justice done for the old U.S.A.

I got up in my argument, called the accused a conspirator and thief (it's ok - he IS a conspirator and thief), justified my recommended sentence, had a great theme, was clear and calm, but indignant that this Airman thought he could steal from MY Air Force.  The judge seemed to love what I was saying.  Someone started to softly hum Battle Hymn of the Republic (not really).  The defense did a good job, and the accused's tears (and those of his pregnant wife) were a nice tough - obviously staged.  I had this locked up, and the accused soon would be. 

Have I mentioned overconfidence as one of my faults?

And then the judge gave out his sentence (enter screeching sounds of halting justice here.)  A reprimand, some money taken away, reduction in rank, and....wait for it....hard labor without confinement for 45 days.  

The eff?  Now, my non-JAG friend, that may sound horrible.  But it's not.  It's extra chores.  He doesn't get a punitive discharge, he doesn't even get CLOSE to the 6 months of confinement I urged the judge to impose (we had an agreement beforehand that he wouldn't ever serve more than three, so I have to aim high - Air Force pun intended).  The last time this guy did chores, he FUCKING STOLE COPPER.  But, who cares about that?  The judge, in his feedback to me said things like:
  • Loved your argument
  • Don't change a thing
  • You said XYZ - that was great.
  • You said ABC - I was thinking the same thing
  • "I just didn't agree with you"
Hard to work on your advocacy skills when obviously I am the greatest attorney ever....to not listen to. 

The light sentence wasn't my fault - I did a great job.  But, it's tough knowing that the ringleader of a copper-stealing conspiracy of idiots is getting off pretty light.  Especially since it's my first case. 

But, C'est La Vie.  There will always be more cases for this Captain Nancy Drew to solve/prosecute.  Hopefully the other attorneys on the rest of the conspiracy case give better arguments or have more prosecution-friendly judges!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I love it and can't wait until the next case..... Randy Man