United States District Court, District of Columbia
N. MCFADDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff in this case seeks to overturn his court-martial
conviction of rape based on misfeasance by the DNA analyst in
Scott was a hospital corpsman at the U.S. Naval Hospital in
Okinawa, Japan. One night after work in 2001, he met up with
a few of his friends to go out drinking. He returned to the
naval barracks later that evening with three servicemembers,
including a woman who was so intoxicated that she could not
walk unassisted. The group helped her to her room before
disbanding. Mr. Scott remained behind and saw the woman lay
down on her bed. He noticed that she was incoherent and
passing in and out of consciousness. So he got in the bed and
began kissing her.
Scott claims that he does not remember what happened next.
When the woman woke up in the morning, she was covered in
blood. She was wearing a pair of white boxers that were not
hers. The tampon she had been using the night before was
lying on the floor. The sheets on her bed were missing.
Feeling scared and confused, she reported the incident to her
chain of command. An investigation by the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service (“NCIS”) found a stain on
the woman's mattress that contained a mixture of her and
Mr. Scott's DNA.
on these facts, Mr. Scott pled guilty to raping the woman. He
told a military judge he had no reason to believe that the
victim and witnesses were mistaken about his actions, and
that he was convinced of his guilt. After inquiring into its
factual basis, the military judge accepted Mr. Scott's
plea. He was discharged from the Navy and sentenced to seven
years' incarceration. Under a pretrial agreement, the
confinement was reduced to four years. He served this
sentence and currently lives in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Scott now collaterally attacks his court-martial conviction.
He contends that an NCIS analyst fabricated the DNA evidence
brought against him. He also believes that the military
courts violated the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative
Procedure Act (“APA”) by refusing to adequately
re-consider his case.
Court disagrees. It finds that Mr. Scott has not adduced
facts sufficient to support his claim of falsified evidence.
Even if he could present such facts, his guilty plea was
based on much more than just the results of DNA testing. His
allegations were fully and fairly considered by the military
tribunals. And the statutory scheme created by Congress
precludes an APA review of Mr. Scott's case. The Court
will thus grant the Government summary judgment on Mr.
Scott's constitutional claims and will dismiss his APA
accepting a guilty plea, “a military judge must conduct
a thorough inquiry to insure the accused understands the
meaning and effect of the plea, that he enters it
voluntarily, and that he in fact is guilty of the
offense.” United States v. Roane, 43 M.J. 93,
98 (C.A.A.F. 1995) (discussing Art. 45(a), Uniform Code of
Military Justice). The purpose of this “providence
inquiry” is to establish a sufficient basis in law and
fact for accepting an accused party's guilt. See
United States v. O'Connor, 58 M.J. 450, 453
(C.A.A.F. 2003). “In this respect, military practice
differs from that in other federal courts that permit the
accused to plead guilty even though the defendant personally
professes innocence-a so-called ‘Alford
plea.'” Roane, 43 M.J. at 98 (citing
North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970)).
with this requirement, a military judge conducted an
extensive providence inquiry before accepting Mr. Scott's
guilty plea. A.R. 9-25. During the inquiry, Mr. Scott
conveyed that he had read, understood, and agreed with a
stipulation of facts concerning his conduct. A.R. 13. The
stipulation stated that:
• “At no time that evening did [the woman] give
[Mr. Scott] any indication that she was interested in [him]
sexually or romantically;”
• The woman “was highly intoxicated as a result of
drinking alcoholic beverages that evening and could not walk
by herself to her barracks room;”
• Mr. Scott “knew that [the woman] was intoxicated
. . . because [he] had seen her consume many beers throughout
the late evening and early morning;”
• Mr. Scott saw that the woman “was not coherent
and passed in and out of consciousness;”
• Mr. Scott “remember[s] lying side by side with
her and kissing her;” and
• The next morning, Mr. Scott “returned to [the
woman's] room and realized that [he] had committed a
sexual act with someone who was unable to give her consent
because she was too intoxicated. [He] was scared that someone
might see [him] leaving the room, so [he] locked [her] door
from the inside and left through her window.” A.R.
military judge also asked Mr. Scott to describe, in his own
words, what happened that night. A.R. 21. He did so. He also
confirmed his belief that he “completed this act of
sexual intercourse and without the consent of” the
woman. A.R. 23.
Mr. Scott claimed not to remember the details of the assault,
he believed the NCIS investigation was “accurate and
reliable.” A.R. 20. He said he had no reason to doubt
the accounts of the victim and witnesses. A.R. 20-21. And he
confirmed that “despite the fact that [he] cannot
remember what happened . . . [he is] still guilty of
raping” the woman. A.R. 21.
to the normal procedure in federal court guilty pleas, the
judge also heard testimony from the victim. She described
waking up covered in blood, wearing boxer shorts that did not
belong to her, and seeing her tampon lying on the floor. A.R.
29. Her bed sheets were missing, and her curtain was pulled
aside. This was something she never did “because [she]
live[d] on the first deck.” Id. After
considering her testimony, the NCIS investigative report, and
Mr. Scott's admissions, the military judge found him
guilty of rape. A.R. 36.
two years later, Mr. Scott filed the first of several appeals
contesting his conviction. A.R. 38-46. He argued that he had
“pled guilty to a rape that was alleged by nobody and
that may have never occurred, ” as neither he nor the
woman “remember[ed] whether he had intercourse with
her.” A.R. 39. He attacked the DNA evidence against
him, suggesting that the mixture of his semen and her blood
found by NCIS “could have just have [sic] easily
occurred outside the vagina.” A.R. 42. Thus, he
insisted, the military judge's providence inquiry was
deficient, as he “failed in his duty to ask the
difficult questions, the ones that would have caused him to
reject the [guilty] plea.” A.R. 44.
Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (“Navy
Appeals Court”) rejected these arguments. It found that
he “indicated an understanding of the elements of the
offense . . . and stated that the elements correctly
described the offense he committed.” A.R. 60. Mr. Scott
also “clearly stated, in his own words, the
circumstances surrounding the rape.” Id. The
Navy Appeals Court concluded that “[a]lthough the
appellant was unable to remember having engaged in
intercourse with the victim, his inability to ...