Home » Budget Industry » Top Appeals Court Upends Navy SEAL Conviction, Citing Unlawful Command Influence by Senior JAG

Top Appeals Court Upends Navy SEAL Conviction, Citing Unlawful Command Influence by Senior JAG

Vice Adm. James Crawford III

In a split 3-2 vote, the military’s appellate court yesterday threw out the rape conviction and prison sentence of a Navy SEAL, contending that top legal officers worried about the service’s reputation for handling alleged sexual assault cases had tainted the case.

In a 43-page brief reversing the lower courts’ decisions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces dismissed the case “with prejudice,” so the government cannot renew the same charges against Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Keith E. Barry.

Barry had maintained his innocence throughout the case, which began in 2014 when he was charged with two counts of rape for alleged non-consensual sex with his girlfriend. At a general court-martial, a military judge convicted him on one count and sentenced him to three years’ confinement.

Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, then-commander of Navy Region-Southwest in San Diego, was the convening authority in 2015 and approved the sentence. But by his own admissions, Lorge did so despite his own misgivings over Barry’s guilt and belief that the SEAL was innocent of the charges. But he cited pressures from staff and senior officers to approve the sexual-assault conviction, factors that prompted Barry’s appeal that grounds of unlawful command influence by Crawford led to his prosecution, conviction and sentencing.

Whether the CAAF decision will impact other convictions or prosecutions that have raised similar although unrelated concerns of UCI remains to be seen, however. The majority and dissenting opinions diverge on the details and characterizations of UCI by now-Vice Adm. James W. Crawford, III, currently the Navy’s top JAG officer.

Chief Judge Scott W. Stucky, penning the majority opinion, noted the unusual nature of the case largely due to Lorge’s admissions and the debatable influencing effect of comments by senior officials about legal matters and overarching policy perceptions. “It is not every day that a general court-martial convening authority begs our forgiveness for his failure of leadership in approving findings he believed should not be approved,” Stucky began the opinion, which was joined by Judge Kevin A. Ohlson and retiring Senior Judge Charles E. Erdmann.

Judge Margaret A. Ryan wrote for the dissent that “this case presents the novel and disturbing situation of a convening authority approving a finding of guilty in a case where he not only believed the government had not proven appellant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt… but further believed that appellant might be innocent.”

Lorge was described in the majority opinion as “the central character of this saga.” His own doubts clashed with what he felt was pressure to convict influenced by discussions in 2015 with senior Navy attorneys, including Crawford, who at the time was the deputy JAG, and then-Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi, the Navy’s top JAG at the time. “Upon my review of the record of trial from this case, I did not find that the government proved the allegation against Senior Chief Barry beyond a reasonable doubt. Absent the pressures described… I would have disapproved the findings in this case,” Lorge wrote in a May 5, 2017, affidavit to the appellate court.

In a subsequent, more expansive affidavit dated Sept. 21, 2017, Lorge wrote he had no other recourse, an erroneous belief stemming from incorrect advice from his staff judge advocate that he lacked authority to disapprove the conviction and sentence.

“At the time, the political climate regarding sexual assault in the military was such that a decision to disapprove the findings, regardless of merit, could bring hate and discontent on the Navy from the President, as well as senators including Senator Kristen Gillibrand. I was also generally aware of cases from other services that became high profile and received extreme negative attention because the convening authorities upset guilty findings in sexual assault cases,” he wrote in the September 2017, affidavit. “I perceived that if I were to disapprove the findings in this case, it could adversely affect the Navy.”

Lorge also wrote that he had shared his concerns in discussions with DeRenzi, although he had more vague recollections about discussions with Crawford. Both affidavits were included as appendixes to the dissenting opinion.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice describes UCI as this:

“No authority convening a general, special, or summary court-martial, nor any other commanding officer, may censure, reprimand, or admonish the court or any member, military judge, or counsel thereof, with respect to the findings or sentence adjudged by the court, or with respect to any other exercise of its or his functions in the conduct of the proceeding. No person subject to this chapter may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts.”

The majority agreed with a CAAF-ordered determination – an evidentiary process called a “DuBay” hearing – that found that “external pressures” led Lorge to approve the conviction despite his personal belief. “In this case, because the impact of RADM Crawford’s unauthorized guidance on RADM Lorge’s action is undeniable, we cannot escape the conclusion that actual unlawful influence tainted (Barry’s) case,” Stucky wrote in the majority opinion.

“This is a case in which the error cannot be rendered harmless and no useful purpose would be served by continuing the proceedings,” he wrote. He added, “we believe nothing short of dismissal with prejudice will provide meaningful relief” and noted “we do not reach this conclusion lightly.”

Ryan, in the dissent joined by Judge Gregory E. Maggs, wrote that they believe Barry deserves a not-guilty finding but disagree that the charges should be dismissed outright. Rather, the court should “instruct the convening authority to withdraw the original action and substitute a corrected action with a finding of not guilty,” which would be “a manner consistent with RADM Lorge’s intent when correcting his erroneous and ambiguous action.”

“There is no question that external pressures known to Rear Adm. Lorge and discussed with Vice Adm. DeRenzi and Rear Adm. Crawford influenced RADM Lorge,” they added.

But Ryan and Maggs also criticized some legal arguments by the majority opinion, including the weight placed on Lorge’s “feeling” of influence. “This bizarre misapplication of its own newly minted test for actual unlawful command influence will leave both the field and lower courts floundering to determine how and when unintentional conduct rises to an ‘unlawful’ level or constitutes ‘improper manipulation,’” they added.

  • DaSaint

    Silence from this otherwise verbose group of posters…

    Well I’m glad this gentleman’s conviction was overturned. Pressures from above should not be a factor in influencing any case…on the city, state, federal or military judicial levels. Regardless of the authority above: Mayor, Governor, Commanding officer, Senator, Congressman or President.

    • USNVO

      I don’t know anything about the case, but there seems to be a lot of unanswered questions.

      – The initial trial was conducted by a military judge acting as a General Court Martial.
      Why? It would seem the SCPO has a better chance with a full blown panel with enlisted members than with just a military judge.
      Is there believed to be unwarranted command influence on the military judge? Why did the CA question the finding of the judge in the first place?

      – The claim is there was unwarranted command influence yet neither of the officers mentioned are in the chain of command of the CA. Although they would have illegal, unauthorized attempts to influence the review by the CA, it would not be command influence. May just be semantics But words have meaning, especially in legal circles, and the words don’t seem appropriate.

      – The dissenting judges on the Military Appeals Court also found the defendant should be found not guilty, they just differed in the method of redressing the wrong. So why would it be 3-2? Why not 5-0 with multiple opinions? And, what was so wrong with the initial findings of guilt by the military judge that 5 other judges found objectionable.

      • Duane

        These trials are virtually always complicated and messy. He said/she said is the norm, as it is extremely rare to have eyewitnesses at all, let alone those without biases. Getting a conviction in a rape case is virtually impossible – the rape conviction rate is a fraction of 1%. Nobody seriously believes that 99+% of charged assailants are actually “innocent”.

        • USNVO

          Agreed, but that just makes the decisions by the accused that much more confusing. I am just speculating but it just doesn’t make sense.

          Why didn’t he demand a jury with enlisted representation as opposed to a judge only trial? Unless he was confident of the evidence, it would seem his chances would be better with a jury trial, especially with enlisted representatives. It would tend to better cancel out any command influence and you now get to roll the dice with 5-7 officers and senior enlisted personnel versus one judge. So why did his defense counsel recommend that (the accused has to request a trial by judge only)?

          All of the appeals judges supported tossing out the charges, just in different ways. If all the appeal judges and the CA has questions about the evidence, why didn’t the military judge? Was there unauthorized command influence toward the JAG side as well? For that matter why did the defense counsel (I am speculating here, they may have advised against a military judge trial or there may be other reasons) advise against a jury trial.

          The fact that the RADM might cave to influence doesn’t really surprise me because flag officers as a whole are pretty political or they wouldn’t be flag officers. So being in tune with the politics in the Pentagon is something that comes very natural to most of them. And, I would be a fool if I didn’t think that seniors will try to influence their subordinates although they are generally pretty good at double speak on these things.

          But there are still a bunch of things that just don’t add up to me.

  • jetcal1

    Time to put Admiral Crawford on legal hold while awaiting court martial.
    IF he is found guilty, he should serve time in the brig equal to the Senior Chief had to fight to get his name cleared and discharged as a Seaman Recruit with the parting retirement gift of a shadow box of all his ranks in chronological order.

    • pismopal

      Ranks in descending order.

    • SN

      Grade determination board and losing a couple of stars might send a message. His predecessor should lose one of her stars also.
      Sneior Chief’s lawyer should also file Bar complaints against evey JAG/Judge involved.

  • JohnQTaxPayer66

    Burning a man’s career to the ground to further a social justice agenda… I’m not surprised at all this happened in the previous admin, really nothing shocking at all. I am surprised that someone cared enough to not sweep it under the rug and I’m glad they are making this right.

    • NavySubNuke

      Talked to a few JAGs about this one time over some beers – 2 AF, 1 Army, and 2 Navy with me and a SWO as the peanut gallery – and it was absolutely astonishing.
      After the Air Force O-6 was basically destroyed for overturning a conviction and all of the public attention that came along with that all COs became so terrified they moved every case forward no matter how ridiculous. Instead of the CA using common sense and basic judgement they sent every sexual assault allegation to an Article 32 just to make sure they weren’t the next victim of idi*ts like Gillibrand.
      The stories they told were astonishing but COs were just too scared to do the right thing. Luckily in most cases the judges tossed it out at the Article 32 and the cases never actually went to court martial but it still kept people’s careers in limbo for months all based on obviously false allegations in a number of cases.

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        I suspect some upcoming rule changes for all sailors. Dating requires a written contract signed by your potential date, make sure to include copy of the dates driver license and submit a chit to be approved by your Divo, the first 3 months requires an chaperon of an e-6 or above, exceptions if you have an ESWS pin just because, after 3 months the chaperone is no longer required but your date must turn in a signed affavid with notary within 24 hours of the completed date to indicate you’ve conducted yourself with in a manner and respect with Navy tradition (social justice warrior not 80s or older when sailors were real sailors and could make a mistake and not lose a career).

        While you had a good laugh reading this, your heart skipped a beat thinking, yeah Navy leadership is so scared of it’s own shadow, you know it’s totally possible.

        • Duane

          Or, just maybe, sexual assault is a felony and should be treated seriously like any other felony.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            It was treated seriously by corrupt people pushing a social justice agenda during a corrupt adminstration end of story.

          • Duane

            He was charged, had a fair trial, the presiding officer allowed UCI to influence his verdict, the verdict was appealed and overturned with prejudice. The system worked. Those who committed or allowed UCI will suffer punishment.

            The system is not corrupt.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            You basically talk just for the sake of talking, stop making yourself look foolish. You just outlined the corruption that took years of this guys career, life and shattered his reputation, then said it wasnt corruption. Really man just stop posting, forever preferably but I’m sure you’ll just ramble on with more wrong.

          • SN

            He did not have a fair trial. When the Sr Judge talks to the trial judge that’s undue influence.
            When JAG lies to a Commander and says he cannot disapprove a verdict, that’s undue influence.

            When the top two JAGs call an installation JAG to stress the importance of a conviction, that’s undue influence.

          • NavySubNuke

            Yikes, only you Duane could actually read that and think he had a fair trial.

        • Curtis Conway

          THAT is how we kill sailors at sea in collisions!!! LEADERSHIP?!

    • jetcal1

      Previous admin? Dude, the roots of this go back to the Jurassic period of witch hunts, aka Tailhook ’91.
      This is merely the bitter fruit of the tree planted by the Clinton W.H and Rep. Pat Schroeder as they “broke the culture” with a Soviet style purge of over 300 officers.

      • Marc Apter

        Only a jet jockey would try and claim nothing happened at Tailhook “91.

        • jetcal1

          No Marc, I’m not saying that at all. They had officers who where known to have been in the gauntlet and other “activities” who were let off the hook for naming names. They named people who weren’t even there and charges were dropped.
          NIS dropped the ball so the powers that be ran a purge based on nothing more than the denounciation of others with no further investigation.

          NIS botched it so badly that it was overhauled and rechristened NCIS after firing the Admiral.

          Edit: sort’a makes you wonder how long JAG has been messed up, don’t it? In both cases, political goals were more important than the truth.

          • Duane

            Even those who didn’t grab as* but who looked the other way, or who ignored it were guilty and deserving of a purge. The honor system goes back to the Naval Academy, and is supposed to be part of the culture for naval officers. Being an officer and a gentleman, or gentlelady, is supposed to be the norm.

            “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men choose to do nothing.”

            Edmund Burke.

            Complaining about the punishments that came of Tailhook is equivalent to condoning evil.

          • jetcal1

            Duane, they went after people who weren’t even there and gave immunity to people who lied in exchange for immunity.
            My complaint was they let lying miscreants go in order to cast a wider net.

            It was so bad and incompetent that they had to reinvent NIS afterwards.

            Do you understand it was like Barney Fife got drafted into the NKVD?

            Thank you for playing.

          • jetcal1

            Since you couldn’t be bothered to respond. Please look up the following
            1. “Break the Culture”
            2. “Clayton Hartwig’
            3. The reasons why NIS became NCIS

          • Duane

            I am not defending NIS. Anyone who knows anything about Tailhook knows that it was the result of a culture that had to be stamped out for the good of the Navy and the good of the nation. If a handful of people got swept up without being either an active or passive participant, they had a right to appeal just as the accused had in this case. Shed no tears over Tailhook – the resulting purge was long overdue. Both the active and passive participants needed to have their careers ended.

          • jetcal1

            I agree that it needed to be changed. But, if you think these people had the right to appeal, I congratulate on your unfettered optimism.

            You’re aware that in at least one case the initial “anonymous charges” were completely repudiated after the participant had been forced to resign due to being passed over for command screening? Was he invited back? No.

          • Duane

            You always have a right of appeal. If you are innocent, you are stupid if you don’t appeal.

            In any event, NIS or NCIS are just investigators, they are not prosecutors nor courts martial members or presiding officers.

          • jetcal1

            Go read the comments by the JAG in this thread………

          • Duane

            You have it backwards, btw. NIS actually shielded the perps in Tailhook, the findings were rejected by an oversight officer, then a real investigation was performed.

            NIS was restructured because it tried to write off Tailhook by blaming it on the women who complained, suggesting they were all topless dancers or worse.

          • jetcal1

            Please go back and read my comment where I stated NIS busted the miscreants.

          • Duane

            No they didnt. They slow walked the investigation and covered for the aviators and the higher ups, going all the way up to CNO, who was eventually forced to retire early when the new administration took over … based upon the real investigation, not the sham that NIS perpetrated when they blamed it on the victims.

            It was only when investigation authority was removed fron NIS that heads began to roll.

        • jetcal1

          Since you couldn’t be bothered to respond. Please look up the following
          1. “Break the Culture”
          2. “Clayton Hartwig’
          3. The reasons why NIS became NCIS.
          Then you can wonder why I was cynical and didn’t trust 99% of the officers over O-3.

          • Jon Tessler

            Jetcal1, I am friends with Clayton Hartwigs sister, and many of the crew of the Iowa. I was serving as a GMG at the time of the Iowa explosion. Gunners Mates KNEW it was NOT A DELIBERATE ACT by a GMG. of course the Navy wanted to “protect the weapon system”, which is why they botched the investigation so badly(1 admiral informal investigation), allowed the technical advisor to be so conflicted(Capt. Micelli was the guy who was in charge of rebagging the powder at Crane).

            NIS was a joke…and in a lot of ways still is

          • jetcal1

            Thank you. Perhaps your voice will help temper a few of the “Navy uber alles” voices here.

          • Jon Tessler

            i don’t mind “navy uber allies”….i despise people who post “facts” with no understanding of the issue they claim to have “facts on” was Tailhook a “bad optics” event….yep…..did the Navy look the other way for years…..yep

            the FACT is, after reading the document above, this case was FUCKED(pardon my choice of wording) from the beginning. the Judge KNEW he was being influenced, but did not have the testicular fortitude to make the RIGHT CALL. by not doing so, he stained the entirety of the JAG Corps, and the Navy at large.

          • jetcal1

            Having great affection for my Navy when someone does “navy uber alles” they are destroying the core of how the modern Navy wishes to treat its people and that erodes that whole trust, faith, and confidence thing.
            Do you have confidence that the people from the lowest LN3 all the way to the top Khaki always handled all of their cases without undue command influence? What about the non-JAG commands that were involved?

          • Duane

            Even the current NCIS was guilty of covering up the Fat Leonard scandal. He bribed several mid level NCIS investigators who watched out for criminal bribery complaints from the fleet – apparently at least a few made it to NCIS – and then deep sixed them

            The scandal only came to light when complainants, frustrated at NCIS inaction, went to the Dept. of Justice in San Diego, which empaneled a Federal grand jury to investigate and charge.

            NCIS needs a watchdog. It has proved time and again that it cannot be trusted to do its job without effective oversight.

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        No arguement with you there, we’ve hopped from politically correct to social justice warriors and skipped into #metoo… where guilt until proven innocent is completely acceptable.

      • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

        I agree and I was never a Naval aviator.

        No one was alleged to have been raped at Tailhook ’91 contrary to popular belief. No one was convicted at court-martial either of any offenses but dozens of Naval aviators’ careers were destroyed to satisfy the lefts feeding frenzy for aviator blood. The sad thing is the admirals did nothing to stop the frenzy even though the admirals had done the same things at prior Tailhooks. Everyone in the Navy knew what went on at Tailhook. Many civilian women went to them each year in the hopes of joining the festivities.

        Remember the movie TOP GUN with Tom Cruise at the O’Club with Kelly McGillis – that accurately depicts the typical aviator’s view in the 1980s that they were God’s gift to women of which many women agreed. I personally witnessed at the NAS O’Club in Norfolk mother/daughter teams going after Naval Aviators on Fridays. It was not until the TV show JAG that anyone paid a JAGC officers any attention.

        The aviators at Tailhook 91 had just come back from Operation Desert Storm/Shield as conquering heroes. Imagine them as Roman soldiers returning from conquering Gaul and how the public would have treated them and expected them to behave.

        The women who were at Tailhook in the “gauntlet hallway” knew from over a decade of prior ones knew that these events were wild parties – similar to Animal House. The Hilton scheduled its annual maintenance the week after Tailhook due to all the anticipated damage. One of the reasons they could not get convictions was the women claiming victim status had willingly entered the gauntlet of drunken sailor aviators knowing what they were likely to do to them. Under the legal theory of “implied consent” if one knowingly walks into an orgy one might expect at some form of an initial inappropriate contact. Of course the same behavior just walking down the street is a crime.

        The local Las Vegas DA had one or two women file complaints but there were no prosecutions by them. Funny no one demanded the Vegas DA resign for lack of action as many in Congress and the left demanded of the Navy. The hookers even stayed away for the Hilton the week Tailhook was going on there as they could not compete with the free competition.

        CDR Wayne L. Johnson, JAGC, Navy (Retired) Alexandria, VA

        • jetcal1

          It’s Duane who needs the convincing. None the less, I deeply appreciate the reply.

          • Duane

            Sorry – I need no convincing. He is completely wrong.

            Sooner or later you guys are going to have to enter the 21st century.

          • jetcal1

            You know some resignations were forced without NJP right?

          • Duane

            Yes. The Navy can do that. Today, and always. The Navy has a right to enforce its standards and code of conduct.

          • jetcal1

            Someone was there and said they were there and then is forced out, well Mr. “they can appeal for redress”, keep moving the football.
            First you said they could appeal, when proven they couldn’t you fall back on “convenience of the Navy”.
            Conveniently chucking your first argument.

          • Duane

            The Navy can give an accused the option of leaving the service, or going to a court martial. That is what it means to force a retirement. If the accused believes they are truly innocent, they can demand a court martial to clear their name. If the accused has not yet earned retirement, then the service can always simply discharge them.

          • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

            You are wrong. Read the Manual for Courts-Martial. Under Article 15 one has the right to refuse it and “request” court-martial NOT demand one. Thus while an accused not on a ship can refuse Article 15 he cannot stop other adverse “administrative” actions against him or her. The bottom line is no one has a right to have him or herself court-martialed. All they can do is ask.

            Based on this I am wondering what your military and legal background is? Please enlighten us. Don’t be shy.

        • Duane

          Everything you wrote totally contradicts your defense of the Tailhook participants.

          Sexual assault is not just rape, or actual penetration. Sexual degradation of anyone is a punishable offense, and should end careers.

          83 women and 7 men were sexually assaulted at Tailhook.

          If some or even a majority of women played along with the abusive behavior, that only reflected the disparity in power and influence of women in 1991 that is thankfully no longer tolerated today. It was only a century ago that women could not legally vote, and prior to the late 19th century women in the USA could not even legally own property.

          Times change and attitudes change, at least for the majority … but there are always the few recalcitrants who refuse to recognize the rights of others.

          • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

            To clarify, NO ONE was convicted at court-martial for anything that occurred at Tailhook 91- to wit rape, sodomy, indecent assault, etc. Interestingly the military judge reprimanded the prosecuting attorneys for misconduct BUT they all ended up getting promoted but not the defense counsels.

            NIS (now NCIS) was told NOT to go after the women aviators, just the males. The women aviators gave as good as they got.

            The 90 people assaulted is a gross exaggeration as anyone who was “touched” was labelled a victim. This was brought out on 60 MINUTES where one woman that was interviewed complained she had been trying to get herself unnamed as a victim. She apparently enjoyed what was done to here.

            Many of the women that were “victims” had been to prior Tailhooks where they experienced the same drunken naval aviator behaviors. Anyone in the “gauntlet hallway” that had been rented by the naval aviators had an expectation of being groped. With such an expectation that means it was not assault. If it had happened elsewhere – like on a public street – it would be.

            Your comments about there being a disparity of power for women is an insult to the women’s rights movement from the 1960s to present as women now have every right to be a bawdy as men. The Girl’s Gone Wild videos are proof of that. No one forced the women to attend Tailhook, they willingly engaged in the festivities. From your own comments, women are the weaker gender and need special protection.

            Parents need to raise their children to know that if you lie done with dogs (go down a gauntlet full of drunk groping naval aviators) you will get fleas (get groped). As with everything in life, one must put it in context as to what is appropriate behavior.

            Commander Wayne L. Johnson, Navy, JACC (Retired)

      • Duane

        You defame the Navy when you accuse it of a “Soviet style purge”.

        Obviously you are completely ignorant of 20th century history or you are deliberately full of sh&t.

        The Soviet style purges resulted in mass executions after show trials … a hangman’s noose, a firing squad, or just a 9mm to the back of the head.

        • jetcal1

          Okay, you only know about the Great Purge.

          Not all the purges were like the Great Purge. Even post 1953 the “purges” were done by loss of party membership followed by status as non-person.
          Try this; journals dot openedition dot org/monderusse/9129
          Covers purges from 1941- 45.

          For a modern day purge, see Falun Gong

          Thank you for the ad hominen attack as well.

          You see, we agree that the culture needed to be changed. I prefer legally with the defendants having their day in court. Which they didn’t get. When that was pointed out, you were fine with the “administrative 9mm to the back of the career” and defend the Navy for doing so.

          Your willingness to forego disciplinary due process for the convenience of the Navy is actually extraordinarily disturbing coming from a putative US citizen who is supposed to be familiar with our Constitution and its amendments.

          I apologize for wasting your time in a fruitless conversation

    • Duane

      Charges of rape are not a social justice campaign. They are felony charges and deserve to be tried in a court of law based upon the evidence and testimony and the rule of law, nothing more, and nothing less. Unlawful command influence is indeed unlawful and unacceptable. It is just that the verdict was overturned due to UCI. Whether justice was served in the matter of the alleged rape, none of us can ever know. The alleged victim and the alleged assailant certainly know.

      • vetww2

        I believe that you are incorrect in at least one case I know of. The sailor was charged, even though the act was consensual, but the c.o. had edicted that all such acts were to be considered rape.

  • James B.

    I hope the Navy will now investigate those allegations of UCI, and hold some people responsible.

  • tim

    “… bring hate and discontent on the Navy from the President, as well as senators …” – this should give pause to anyone that want to go after the poor guy that stepped forward now.

    • old guy

      HORRIBLE. Every word of the actions of the various JAGs and such, denigrates the Navy and our country. All guilty of PC here should be dealt a career blow. What happened to honor?

  • Paul 2

    Of all people, you’d think that a senior JAG would know how to avoid trouble with Unlawful Command Influence.

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    That’s a whole lot of fruit salad for a JAG. Why he probably wears more ribbons than Senior Chief Barry.

    • jetcal1

      You see where the NatDef resides in that stack? The rest of it is all End of Tour gedunk salad s h ! t at the level appropriate for someone of his exalted stature.

      • USNVO

        I thought it was interesting that he had a Phillipine Presidential Unit Citation but the rest of the awards were all pretty normal.

        • jetcal1

          I will take your word for it. I will freely admit to being biased in wondering how a lawyer could get so many awards.

          • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

            As one moves up the food chain – particularly officers – in the military one automatically gets a medal every time one changes duty stations. As you move up in rank the medals that one gets upon transfer get more impressive.

            It is possible that Crawford, even if allowed to retire next week, will not be getting the Legion of Merit or whatever one gets as a retiring VADM due to the CAAF decision.

            CDR Wayne L. Johnson, JAGC, Navy (Retired) Alexandria, VA

          • jetcal1

            Too be a bit hypocritical, I never did anything that I thought rose to meet the award criteria of NAM/COM, etc. However I happily wore them including two ridiculous EOT NAMs.

          • USNVO

            I don’t disagree with you, but I would say the practice is widespread and not just limited to lawyers. If anything, I thought the number of awards he had, discounting the bottom three rows of been there, done that ribbons and medals, was pretty normal. By my count, and not bothering to look it up, he has 12 individual awards in something around 36 years of service. Certainly high by the pre-WWII standards but not especially egregious by today’s more relaxed, everyone gets an award if they don’t get fired, standards. He also has 4 overseas ribbons and 3 sea service deployment ribbons, so he didn’t spend all his time in DC either.

  • Ed L

    Question, what will happen to SC Barry now? Will he gets all rank and benefits restored and back pay?

    • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

      He will be fully restored to his rank/rate Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator – pay grade E-7 with full back pay and benefits. He court-martial will be removed from his personnel file. He very likely will be able to get a retroactive promotion to Master Chief – pay grade E-8. He will be offered a chance to return to active duty (I presume he has been on unpaid appellate leave since getting out of the brig) or retire if eligible.

      Hopefully Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Keith E. Barry will read this web posting himself and weigh in on anything that I have gotten wrong or right. Of course all of this will probably take a month or so to get resolved. I hope the costs of his civilian attorney have been paid for by donations to a defense fund (or a military rights group) as the costs of hiring a civilian attorney – even if one is found not guilty – are not reimbursed and are not cheap. Of course in this case, Barry might want to file a claim for his legal costs as the Navy JAGC just might be feeling a little guilty right now as well they should and avoid the embarrassment of refusing to pay up. Shame can be a good thing. His lawyer might even want to try and sue Crawford and DeRenzi personally – I am not up on my tort law but that is usually hard to do UNLESS it is determined they were not acting in the scope of their employment.

      Barry’s lawyer should definitely files ethics complaints with the state bars that VADM Crawford,VADM DeRenzi, and maybe even CDR Jones are members of. If their state bars find they violated the ethics rules they could be disbarred which makes them ineligible to practice law. That would be like taking away all of a SEAL’s weapons from him to a lawyer.

      Crawford and the other JAGCs involved are examples of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is time they are held accountable for their actions.

      Commander Wayne L. Johnson, JAGC, Navy (Retired) Alexandria, VA

      • Ed L

        Thank you for the explanation

      • leighann_toyo

        How do you know he will get his rank by and be eligible for retirement? I am just curious, found this story and have been following it ever since and I am hoping that he was restored everything he lost. The man served our country for 20 years and it was all thrown away because of some crazy girl and wrong doings of the Navy.

        • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

          How do I know you ask – I am a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) officer – a military lawyer.

          Getting everything restored – such as back pay and rank UNDER MILITARY LAW is the net effect of having one’s conviction overturned on appeal WITH PREJUDICE – which means he can NEVER be retried on the charges. That is the same effect as if he had been found not guilty at trial four or five years ago.

          I never said Barry was eligible to retire. I said he could retire if he was eligible as I do not know how many years he has on active duty.

          Commander Wayne L. Johnson, JAGC, Navy (Retired) Alexandria, VA

          • leighann_toyo

            Thank you for the explanation, you are very informative and knowledgeable, something I am sure plenty of the readers here appreciate!!

      • CDRwayneljohnsonjagcnavyret

        My bad, in my above comment I typed the incorrect pay grades. For a senior chief, it is E-8, not E-7, and master chief is E-9, not E-8.

  • old guy

    somewhat, reminds me of,”A few good men.”

  • Pete Novick

    Excellent, well written article. Thank you.

  • old guy

    Ye gads! He’s an obama look alike!

  • East Bound & Down

    ““At the time, the political climate regarding sexual assault in the
    military was such that a decision to disapprove the findings, regardless
    of merit, could bring hate and discontent on the Navy from the
    President, as well as senators including Senator Kristen Gillibrand. I
    was also generally aware of cases from other services that became high
    profile and received extreme negative attention because the convening
    authorities upset guilty findings in sexual assault cases,” he wrote in
    the September 2017, affidavit. “I perceived that if I were to disapprove
    the findings in this case, it could adversely affect the Navy.” I suspect that “Command Influence” goes a whole lot higher than an RADM!