Marine Colonel Daniel H. Wilson was convicted at a general court-martial of child molestation and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison and a dismissal (dishonorable discharge) from the United States Marine Corps.
Currently languishing in a military prison cell for 2 1/2 of his 5 1/2 year sentence, Colonel Wilson heard that the Navy-Marine Criminal Court of Appeals (NMCCA) handed down a decision on July 1, 2019, setting aside his conviction and sentence.
The appeals court dismissed the sentence and findings of the lower court WITH PREJUDICE. Appellant Court Judges Anglea J. Tang, Michael Lawrence and Frank Hutchison voted unanimously to overturn Colonel Dan Wilson’s conviction.
In other words, the Court of Criminal Appeals found the lower court didn’t have enough credible evidence to warrant a conviction, and therefore may have convicted and incarcerated an innocent man. Colonel Wilson’s wife Susan feels most emphatically, that’s exactly what happened.
We know from our experience, the military has a habit of convicting people without evidence, or with insufficient evidence. In Colonel Dan Wilson’s case, the lack of credible evidence gave the Criminal Court of Appeals pause. Seldom had the judges seen a conviction on such suspicious and weak evidence and decided to overturn his conviction unanimously and with prejudice.
The term, “WITH PREJUDICE,” generally means either the case was vexatious, charges were levied in bad faith or the accused was denied his/her Constitutional right to a speedy trial. Vexatious means the charges were instituted without sufficient grounds (not enough evidence).
The appellant judges decision in this case, indirectly suggested the testimony of a six-year-old child could have been easily manipulated by interviewers, but directly stated the child’s testimony just wasn’t credible enough to warrant a conviction.
In other words, the child’s testimony under the “guiding hand” of interviewers didn’t provide strong enough testimonial evidence to destroy a man’s career and toss him in prison for 5 1/2 years.
The Navy-Marine Criminal Court of Appeals issued a massive, 57-page opinion in United States v. Daniel H. Wilson, in which it declared the conviction of sexual abuse of a child to be factually insufficient. Writing for a unanimous panel, Senior Judge Angela J. Tang said the following:
Carefully evaluating all of BP’s [initials of the child] testimony and statements admitted at trial, we find that BP’s statements were fatally inconsistent and wholly irreconcilable. Based on the evidence, we cannot discern how BP contends the appellant touched her, when he did so, or how many times she contends the abuse occurred.
Faced with multiple descriptions of possible contacts—only some of which are consistent with guilt—we cannot find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based solely on BP’s statements.
We next look to the other evidence admitted at trial for corroboration. We do not find evidence sufficient to overcome the infirmities in BP’s statements. There were no witnesses, physical evidence, or admissions of guilt by the appellant.
We next consider the testimony of several preeminent expert witnesses in the field of child psychology, maltreatment, and forensic interviewing. Most were presented by the government.
The experts’ testimony assists us in understanding the limitations in children’s memories and children’s susceptibility to suggestion. But the expert testimony does nothing to resolve our genuine misgivings with the evidence.
Rather, the testimony of the government’s expert witnesses only further diminishes the reliability of BP’s forensic interview and trial testimony.
The court’s analysis concludes:
We do not expect perfect consistency or flawless oratory from a six-year-old child. However, the government’s own experts indicated that, at least in July 2016, BP was capable of providing a narrative clearly describing her abuse but did not.
And the government’s own experts found infirmities in the interview technique and a lack of clarity in BP’s statements. The expert testimony cannot reasonably explain the inconsistencies between all of BP’s statements.
We have carefully reviewed the government’s arguments on the evidence as they view it. We do not find that the proof is “such as to exclude . . . every fair and rational hypothesis except that of guilt.”
In other words folks, the fix was in. Colonel Dan Wilson was convicted more on rumor and innuendo than real evidence. The military judicial system is so terribly rigged in favor of the government, sadly, this type of thing happens more than we know.
The investigator continually asked the child over and over again, how many times did he touch you, until the investigator was able to get the child to raise the number up to a point that it became believable and condemning. When the child raised the number of “touches” to six, the investigator purportedly responded…. ‘now, that’s what I wanted to hear,’ or words to that effect.
When referring to a grand jury, many have heard the old saying, “You can indict a ham sandwich.” With military juries, you can convict a ham sandwich, as long as the prosecutors are corrupt and feeling pressure to deliver, not just a conviction, but a harsh conviction.
Combine dubious evidence with unlawful command influence (UCI), and you have a the perfect railroad job elixir to convict and imprison an innocent man. Do we have hard evidence that UCI existed in this particular case? NO.
But, what we do have is a severe conflict of interest if the convening authority writes or approves the fitness reports (OERs) on any of the jurors. In a case like this that shocks the conscience, where a rough and tough Marine colonel is suspected of molesting a six-year-old child, we can say with a very high degree of probability that unlawful command influence was definitely a factor.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Colonel Dan Wilson was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, a training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. His boss was Major General Walter Lee Miller Jr. On Friday evenings, many times after Wilson arrived home, Miller would call asking where he was and why he wasn’t at the officer’s club throwing back a few beers with the good old boys.
Wilson, fully aware of the politics of it all, would venture out into the night to yuk it up with Major General Miller and the boys. They would talk about what Marines usually talk about…. sports, politics, motorcycles, sexual conquests, etc, etc.
Even though Dan Wilson was a subordinate of MG Lee Miller, he was also a favored drinking buddy as well. Additionally, he was a fellow Marine with a special bond that other military services only dream about. Wilson would sadly discover how weak that bond really was when the Marine Corps put its foot on his throat.
Dan and Susan Wilson knew of a Marine family going through a hard time. The Marine father and husband of this family was seldom at home, struggling with extraordinarily long hours in work-up for deployment. To help them out, Susan and Dan Wilson took in the Marine’s wife and three girls. This act of kindness would turn out to be a monumental mistake.
Colonel Wilson was accused of molesting one of the girls and supplying one or more of them with alcohol. In the testosterone-filled world of the United States Marine Corps, molesting a child ranks right up there to becoming a traitor to America. It doesn’t get much lower than that.
There was no physical evidence such as DNA, only a “she said, he said” situation. But, the rumor mill generated one scenario after another that sickened all Marines. An investigation was launched, but in the hearts and minds of many Marines, Colonel Dan Wilson had already been convicted.
When the investigators concluded from their interview with the child that Colonel Wilson had touched her inappropriately, the fire and brimstone began to fall. Major General Miller went from a friend and drinking buddy to a person hellbent on bringing Dan Wilson to “justice.”
It was as if the eyelids came down, as they do on a pack of sharks going into a feeding frenzy in blood-drenched waters. Daniel Wilson quickly found himself encircled by prosecutorial sharks, hungry to kill his career and destroy his life.
Never-mind the evidence centered primarily on the extremely dubious testimony of a six-year-old child, and a cesspool of rumor and innuendo. It all had a terrible compounding effect, that was destined to put an innocent man behind bars for years.
HARD TIMES DESCENDED
Dan Wilson’s entire life was literally destroyed before he even walked into the courtroom. The Wilsons lost virtually everything they had. This included a home they owned, their Ford Expedition, his treasured Harley-Davidson motorcycle, etc, etc. His credit rating sank like a rock, going from a FICO score of 800+ down to God knows what.
Susan Wilson, (Dan’s wife) went into a deep depression, feeling heavy guilt for all that her husband had been subjected to. Her mental depression began to affect her physically. She eventually was rushed to the hospital, vomiting and dehydrated.
Doctors quickly deduced Mrs. Wilson was mentally not well, and ordered her transfer to the psych ward in order to address the severe depression causing her mental anguish. Since it was initially Susan’s idea to help the struggling Marine family, she felt what happen to Dan was all her fault.
Not surprisingly, the Marine Corps employed a scorched-earth policy with regards to Colonel Dan Wilson. The command removed all of their belongings from base housing, and placed it in an $800/month storage facility off base. The Marines know how to kick a family out on the curb!
Once Dan’s wife was released from the hospital, she discovered she only had four days to vacate their on-base home, or sentries would be sent to escort her off the base. This was the Marine Corps method of helping a Marine wife recover from her bout with deep depression.
Prison life was hard enough for Colonel Dan without hearing about all the suffering by his wife occurring on outside prison walls that he could do nothing about. Wilson was assigned a cell in the old part of the naval Bastille in San Diego, California.
During the summer months, inmates suffer miserably from the oppressive heat. During the winter months, inmates shivered throughout the night because the Navy refused to provide even a blanket to shield them from the cold that would dip down to well below freezing.
Even the guards were suffering from the cold, doing push-ups to try to keep warm as that part of the prison had absolutely no heat. Even though our Constitution prohibits treating people with cruel and inhuman punishment, the United States Navy felt it didn’t apply to them.
And, Congress in their infinite wisdom, is spending billions of dollars to ensure that illegal aliens who invade America, have all the comforts you can possibly imagine. This includes air-conditioning in the summer and warm blankets and toasty heat in the winter. The paradox of America knows no bounds.
MAJOR GENERAL MILLER NEVER KNEW THE REAL MEANING OF
While Colonel Dan Wilson suffered, Major General Lee Miller continued enjoying happy hour at the officer’s club on Friday evenings. As Marine Corps Colonel Daniel H. Wilson was imprisoned in a naval gulag, his former drinking buddy and the man who convened the court and approved his conviction, submitted his retirement paperwork to leave active service on July 14, 2017.
Maybe in part, because of the skillful way he sent his drinking buddy to prison, Miller was decorated with Navy Distinguished Service Medal at his retirement ceremony. The medal was presented to Miller to recognize his distinguished and meritorious service to the United States while serving in a position of great responsibility.
But, there is no greater responsibility than to ensure an innocent man is NEVER sent to prison. Miller had a duty to ensure the rights of the accused were protected, and he failed miserably in that solemn responsibility. He was faithful only unto himself, as he likely used his friend Dan’s conviction to ingratiate himself with Members of Congress and senior military leaders.
Semper Fidelis, or “Semper Fi,” is a Latin phrase that means “always faithful” or “always loyal.” The United States Marine Corps adopted the motto “Semper Fidelis” in 1883, and it’s supposed to signify the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for fellow Marines and to the Constitution of the United States.
BTW, in 1883, the first baseball game under electric lights was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the first long distance phone call was made between New York and Chicago, Congress authorized the building of the first steel vessels in the US Navy and Buffalo Bill Cody opened his Wild West Show in Omaha, Nebraska.
Major General Miller knows nothing about the real meaning of Semper Fidelis, as he threw a good Marine under the bus with virtually no credible evidence. Again, in this “MeToo” climate, Miller may tossed his friend to the wolves to impress Members of Congress that have been demanding heads-on-a-platter.
Politically it was helpful for MG Miller to send the message that women and girls in his command were being protected from predators. One wonders if Miller got a call from a three or four star Marine general in his chain of command that applied unlawful command influence to pressure the convening authority into filing the charges and making sure a conviction was certain.
But, that’s where Miller’s railroad job of Wilson went off the rails. Colonel Wilson WAS NOT A PREDATOR at all. But, that fact didn’t matter to Major General Miller as the convening authority, or his diabolical prosecutors as they weaved their web to destroy the life and career of an innocent man.
Even if Major General Miller was being pressured by senior ranking Marine officers in his chain of command, he should have demonstrated leadership and resisted. Had he done so, an innocent man would not have even been brought to trial. Instead, he protected his own career, by giving up his own friend and fellow Marine. Consequently, a fine man and good Marine was tried, convicted and sentenced to 5 1/2 years behind bars.
Major General Miller was supremely derelict in his duty as a general officer in the Marine Corps. But derelict in his duty or not, the conviction of Dan Wilson apparently protected MG Miller from the loony progressives in Congress, and even got him an award at his retirement ceremony.
Perhaps, Major General Miller had hoped that by sending Colonel Wilson into the lion’s den, he would not only protect his career, but could possibly obtain the rank of Lieutenant General. Going from two stars to three just before retirement would have meant thousands more retirement dollars in his pocket every year.
Or, maybe Miller would elect to stay in the Marines with his new rank, if he received a plum assignment where happy hour is a nightly event. Miller could then toast the sacrificing of fellow Marine Daniel H. Wilson on the alter of political correctness, and thank him for his new rank and position.
WHAT’S GOING ON NOW
You would think that such a stinging rebuke by the Criminal Court of Appeals would have brought an immediate release from prison for Colonel Dan Wilson. But, we have to keep in mind the Navy and Marine Corps were terribly embarrassed. And when embarrassed, the military will passively resist to prolong the suffering of the accused as long as possible.
Letting Colonel Wilson out of prison immediately following the decision from the Criminal Appeals Court, would have compounded their embarrassment because the news media always like to get pictures of an innocent man being released from prison. It makes for a great human interest story.
It would be wiser from the military’s point of view to let Dan out of prison several months later, late at night, after the matter has been forgotten. The military has told Colonel Dan that his release won’t be for at least two or three additional months because that’s how long the prosecutors have to determine if they plan to appeal to CAAF (Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces).
In the mean time, Colonel Dan Wilson paces his prison cell all night long. He finds that he cannot sleep, as he is thinking about what to do now. The Marines won’t want to keep Dan on active duty, because his presence would serve only to remind them of just how bumbling and inept they were by sending an innocent man and good Marine to prison.
His wife Susan Wilson and all other family members have remained loyal to Dan throughout this entire ordeal. They are very excited to one day soon have Colonel Dan back home, and end this terrible nightmare once and for all.
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN
If there is a God, President Trump should order the immediate release of Colonel Dan Wilson, because of the ludicrous charges that were based on no credible evidence resulting in a conviction, and a 5 1/2 year prison sentence for an innocent man.
Furthermore, Wilson should immediately be given all his back wages with interest. An additional $50,000/year for each year he was behind bars is also warranted. It’s a federal law in the civilian world, those wrongfully convicted receive $50K for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned.
As a side note, for people on death row who were wrongfully convicted, it’s $100K/yr. Logically, since it’s a federal statute, it should also apply to military personnel. It’s our opinion that wrongful imprisonment that most likely involved unlawful command influence or some other judicial skulduggery should warrant a minimum of $1,000,000/yr. for each year of incarceration.
Colonel Wilson should also receive a letter of apology from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and be promoted to at least Brigadier General. When an innocent man is convicted and thrown in prison, the government should go out of its way to make that man whole again, and should launch investigations to find how why and how the wrongful conviction occurred.
Did the threat of a career-ending fitness report (OER), or words passed through the grapevine to the ears of jury members end up pressuring jurors to make damn sure Col. Wilson was not only convicted but also received a lengthy prison sentence? Did the convening authority use the Wilson case as an “insurance policy” to inoculate himself from any charges that he goes lightly on child molesters?
The Dan Wilson story is just another egregious case where the military went into a feeding frenzy to convict a man with no credible evidence. Make no mistake, these same tactics have been used before resulting in many military members being sent to the naval gulags.
Many times in the past we have seen appeals courts just rubber-stamp the findings of lower courts. In this particular case however, they did not. Instead they rendered a massive decision of 21,000+ words to basically say, the military DID NOT have credible evidence to convict Colonel Wilson.
The unanimous decision by the court was delivered by a woman, Senior Judge Angela J. Tang. Never underestimate the power of a woman’s intuition. We feel the female judge could see right through this mess, and knew it was highly probable that Wilson had either been set up, or it was a case of ineptitude by court officers and investigators.
We don’t know if the mother of the child actually believed her daughter’s account of what happened, or conjured up a plan to shakedown the military using the conviction of Dan Wilson as evidence of personal injury.
Was it all a mere misunderstanding that bore no malice or deviancy and exploding into a federal case, which went terribly out of control? Or, was the entire case against Colonel Dan Wilson was a shakedown that the Marines fell for by convicting Colonel Dan Wilson of something he did not do?
Whether it’s Colonel Dan Wilson, you, me or anyone else… we are all considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. According the the Criminal Court of Appeals, the prosecutors never proved guilt by a reasonable doubt, not even close.
Politics was a major factor in Colonel Dan Wilson’s conviction. As one reader succinctly put it…
There were four general officers on that court martial, and I’m sure that protecting the image of the Corps was paramount. A not-guilty verdict would have unleashed a dozen nukes on Camp Lejeune in the form of unhinged Democrat Members of Congress demanding termination of the Marine Corps.
The military judicial system is brazenly corrupt, because of the insidious way that politics leak into investigations, deliberations and verdicts. Dubious convictions occur in military courts on a regular basis, with some convictions sending innocent people to prison.
The American military judicial system is in dire need of a complete overhaul from top-to-bottom with changes to more insulate it from political influence, which many times is converted into unlawful command influence swaying the court way off course.
The military judicial system is not about fairness, or Equal Justice Under Law, it’s about the “system” protecting the “system.” It’s about political machinations that infect the already biased system. To lessen the chances of convicting innocent men, these things have got to be changed.
Colonel Wilson has about seven rows of ribbons on his uniform. The Marine Corps should bestow upon Colonel Daniel H. Wilson, a ribbon that represents the betrayal he endured by his fellow Marines, and for being convicted and sent to prison for a crime he did not do. In many respects, Colonel Wilson served in a war zone at Camp Lejeune, ultimately becoming a prisoner of that war.
Navy Marine Criminal Court of Appeals – DECISION
P.S. – Let’s not forget about Air Force Major Clarence Anderson who was also railroaded and sent to prison. He was involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with his x-wife, so she decided to go judge shopping and found an interested partner in the military. The military was more than happy to lop off another head to please their taskmasters in Congress.
The Air Force screwed up his case so badly, they still don’t know what to do about it. Once again, the military convicted someone without any credible evidence. Major Anderson knew Colonel Wilson when they were inmates together in the naval gulag.
The military should be absolutely ashamed for how they use convictions to silence whistle-blowers and pacify Congress. Convictions of innocent men are considered OK by the military, so long as Congress stays off the backs of the admirals and generals.