A Marine lance corporal who was caught filming female sailors showering aboard the USS Arlington had his conviction upheld by a Navy appeals court.
The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously upheld Lance Cpl. Steven L. Smith’s conviction of obstruction of justice earlier this month, according to Stars and Stripes.
The three-judge panel also upheld his sentence: four months in jail, reduction of rank to private, and a bad conduct discharge.
Smith, in the appeal, argued that he was only “concealing his offenses,” not obstructing justice, when he tossed his camera overboard after a female Marine spotted it.
For a three-month period in early 2019, he repeatedly placed a GoPro on a selfie stick and inserted it into the women’s bathroom through a hole in the wall, which was connected to his room.
Once a female Marine spotted the camera, Smith removed the memory card and broke it, and he then threw the GoPro and accessories overboard.
Smith said he disposed of the incriminating evidence because he believed an investigation would happen, according to court records. But in his appeal, he contradicted that claim, saying he wasn’t sure one would happen.
Without an investigation, his actions would be concealing evidence and not obstruction of justice, he argued, though the appeals court responded by saying that this type of argument requires a case-by-case determination.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
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