Plea for Mercy and Fairness in U.S. Army Case of Major Erik Burris
READ THIS LETTER AND TRY NOT TO WEEP
We have obtained a letter from militarycorruption.com in support of Major Erik Burris written by Mr. William Cassara in July of 2015. It is so heartfelt and gut-wrenching, Save Our Heroes has decided to publish it.
“I (William E. Cassara) was one of three of MAJ Burris’ defense counsel and the lone civilian. My background is more than 20 years in the active and reserve Army JAG Corps, and over 25 years representing military members as a civilian defense counsel. This is the first time, to my recollection, that I have written a clemency letter on behalf of a client. Then again, this is the first time that I have been 100% convinced that an innocent client of mine has gone to prison.
“Respectfully, this case is everything that is currently wrong with the military justice system. A case that never should have gone to trial in the first place, has ended with an innocent man sentenced to 20 years confinement based in large part on the allegations of a vindictive ex-wife whose testimony was so outlandish and fanciful as to lead the Article 32 investigating officer (a female Army 0-5 Judge Advocate) to conclude the woman was a habitual liar whose testimony should not be believed.
“I have racked my head to try and figure out how this happened. I have second-guessed every single decision we on the defense team made, And I still don’t know. I simply don’t know how an innocent man goes to jail on allegations so absurd and patently false. I don’t know how a convening authority and SJA ignore the well-reasoned decision of an Article 32 officer to not refer the case to trial. I don’t know how a panel of officers doesn’t see through this charade of a court-martial and come to the only logical conclusion – acquittal. I don’t know how a prosecutor fails to disclose clearly exculpatory evidence in the middle of a trial. I don’t know how we, as a defense team, failed. And mostly, I don’t know how anybody gets any satisfaction out of this result. While the prosecutors were ‘high-fiving’ themselves, an innocent man was put behind bars.
“As if the above weren’t awful enough, having gotten to know Erik Burris the man, I can attest that he is a kind, compassionate, and decent man. A man who dedicated his life to an Army so willing to toss him on the trash heap. A man who did everything he was asked to do for his country, and whose country turned its back on him. A man whose family and children love him because they know the truth.
“I will never forget sitting in a room with MAJ Burris after the panel announced the findings and watching this grown man in a fetal position, crying and proclaiming his innocence, I will never forget the sight of his family in stunned disbelief at this horrible miscarriage of justice. I will never forget the conversations I had with numerous members of the JAG Corps proclaiming that this was the end of their military careers, as they could no longer support a system that would allow such a thing to happen. To say that MAJ Burris did not get a fair trial is the understatement of the century.”