Friday, June 10, 2011

Post-Trial Appeals

McClatchy has two stories on Brian Foster and some of the problems of post-trial appeals available here and here.  Brian Foster is a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant and a military policeman.  A military jury convicted Foster of spousal rape in late 1999 and sentenced him to 17 years. In February 2009, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the charge as flimsy and denounced the excruciatingly long post-trial delays. He spent nearly a decade in Leavenworth for a crime he didn't commit.  His first wife, whose accusations amid a bitter divorce led to his conviction, now has custody of his two sons. They were young when he went to prison; one son, at the age of 6, was summoned to testify at the court martial. Now, Foster's sons are teenagers and don't deal with him much.  His appellate attorney David Sheldon said, "represents one of the gravest miscarriages of justice I have known in the Uniform Code of Military Justice."  The article details the sad saga of his appeals.  While Foster's experiences were extreme, they were not entirely unique. A McClatchy review of thousands of pages of court and military documents reveals persistent delays.