Marine Who Was Imprisoned for Speaking Against Afghanistan Incompetence Receives Surprise Sentence

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr.

Some weeks ago, RedState reported on Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller’s imprisonment. After violating a gag order to speak against the rank incompetence that led to Joe Biden’s deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, Scheller was thrown into the brig pending a hearing. Later, he was hit with multiple charges stemming from his conduct.

Now, the court-martial is over, and the results are somewhat surprising. Most thought the judge, Col. Glen Hines, would throw the book at him, as covering for the failures of military leadership has become a common occurrence. Yet, Scheller was given a fairly light sentence, which included a letter of reprimand and a forfeiture of $5,000 pay over the course of a single month. Further, the judge blasted command for the pre-trial detention and for leaking records to try to make the defendant look bad.

This, via the Marine Corps Times.

But the Corps’ proposed punishment for Scheller’s transgressions, for which everyone in the courtroom agreed he should be held accountable, paled in comparison to the mitigating factors, Hines explained.

In a trial where post-sentencing time in the brig was not even an option, the command’s decision to lock Scheller up while awaiting trial was “a very rare thing,” Hines said.

He also revealed that the Marine signed his plea agreement while in the brig.

Hines blasted apparent leaks of documents that included Scheller’s medical records, as attorney Parlatore claimed at trial, as “very disturbing,” “unfair” and “illegal.”

The ultimate punishment was far below what prosecutors had sought, which was forfeiture of $5,000 pay a month for six months. Scheller will now be honorably discharged and enter into civilian life, which was apparently his goal anyway, given his disgust with command.

Still, the prosecution acting on behalf of the Marine Corps stepped out of line here. There was no justification to lock Scheller up pre-trial. He was not a flight risk, and there was no reason to believe him to be dangerous, though the prosecution tried to paint him as such in their charging documents. This was an attempted rail-roading that was headed off by a clear-minded judge who saw what was happening. That speaks to a deep rot still existent within the military.

In the end, Scheller paid the price that should have been paid, in my view. He knew when he put those videos out that there would be consequences for breaking the UCMJ, and at no point did he try to run from those consequences. But there was no reason to try to destroy his life and present him as a dangerous, deluded man — simply because he had the courage to speak against leadership that had failed him, the military, and the country.