Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Stars and Stripes: Lengthy sexual assault case ends in acquittal

Stars and Stripes reports on a sexual assault case in the Air Force that lasted over three years and finally came to an end, but did not result in a conviction:

An Air Force sexual assault case that spanned two investigations, a lieutenant general’s forced retirement and a finding of unlawful command influence ended after more than three years Wednesday in the acquittal of Airman 1st Class Brandon T. Wright.

A military jury made up of officers and enlisted personnel — six men and one woman — found Wright not guilty at Joint Base Andrews, Md., after three hours of deliberation.

Ryan Guilds, a civilian lawyer and the woman’s independent counsel, […] said that questions asked by the jury members during trial — a unique aspect of U.S. military law — showed a regressive military “mind-set” about sexual assault.

One officer on the panel asked the judge if the jury could see the sergeant’s performance evaluations and ribbons. Another wanted to know whether the sergeant had ever cheated on her fiancé, Guilds said. “They have absolutely no bearing in the case; they’re totally irrelevant,” he said. The judge did not allow either request.

Read more here.