U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to General David H. Berger, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, to request justification for the pre-trial confinement of Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller. The Marine Corps has alleged Scheller violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice in remarks he made on social media after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The UCMJ requirements for pretrial confinement are very specific… Regardless of the accusations, he deserves the same rights as any other service member,” Wicker wrote.
Read Senator Wicker’s full letter to Gen. Berger below.
Dear General Berger:
This week the Marine Corps placed Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller in pretrial confinement at the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as he awaits an Article 32 preliminary hearing. According to media reports, he has been accused of violating Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Articles 88 (Contempt toward officials), 90 (Willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer), 92 (Failure to obey an order), and 133 (Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman).
The UCMJ requirements for pretrial confinement are very specific. Restraint is not required in every case and should be no more rigorous than required to ensure the person’s presence at trial or to prevent foreseeable serious criminal misconduct. I request further information to understand better how these conditions apply to Lt. Col. Scheller’s situation.
Please provide the rationale, including any associated administrative or judicial records, used by Lt. Col. Scheller’s chain of command to justify and document the decision to place him in pretrial confinement. Regardless of the accusations, he deserves the same rights as any other service member.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Roger F. Wicker
United States Senator