EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Navy Doctor Found Guilty After Military Judge's Homophobic and Indefensible Ruling

I've written previously on October 3 and November 1 about the Navy doctor on trial for allegedly secretly taping midshipmen having sex.  As I noted, in the case, the military judge made the homophobic and legally erroneous decision to allow into evidence 2,100 thousand pictures of homosexual erotica found on the doctor's home computer to prove that the doctor had a need to view young, athletic males engaged in sex.  The judge's decision is uttely lacking in any legal support because the evidence at issue is clearly inadmissible under the ban on character evidence.

Well, yesterday, the Navy doctor was sentenced to 46 months in prison after the military jury hearing the case found him guilty of the secret videotaping.  The doctor's lawyer has vowed to appeal the sentence on the ground that the pornography found on the doctor's computer was irrelevant and inadmissible.

I often challenge the evidentiary rulings made by judges, but it is frequently understandable that they will make mistakes.  That said, the military judge in the case, Steven F. Day, should be ashamed of his actions, and the Navy as a whole should be embarassed by this decision.  The Navy doctor in this case may very well be guilty of the crimes with which he is charged, but there was absolutely no justification for the judge's evidentiary ruling.



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