You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Judge: Evidence in MTI's court-martial illegal

Feb. 20, 2013 - 03:31PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 20, 2013 - 03:31PM  |  
  • Filed Under

A bulk of the evidence in the case against the latest military training instructor to stand court-martial at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was obtained illegally, a military judge ruled today, putting the entire case in jeopardy.

Tech. Sgt. Samuel A. Wicks is charged with having unprofessional relationships with three technical trainees, none of whom he became physically involved. Wicks is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to the three women, including a video of himself masturbating.

The government retrieved all of that evidence from Wick's stolen cellphone, said Lackland spokesman Brent Boller. Wick's ex-girlfriend, also an MTI, took the phone from an office at the basic training squadron and later handed it over to security forces. Security forces did not obtain a search warrant before viewing the data on the phone, which prosecutors then used to build their case.

Wick's defense argued the search of the phone without a warrant violated his reasonable expectation to privacy, Boller said. The judge, Col. Donald R. Eller Jr., agreed and suppressed the evidence.

When court reconvenes today at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, prosecutors can ask Eller to reconsider. If he denies the request, they can appeal his ruling to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals or find evidence not derived from the cell phone, Boller said.

If all of that fails, the case against Wicks could be tossed out. It would then be up to his command to decide what to do next.

"There could be administrative actions taken," Boller said. "Those decisions ultimately will be in the hands of his command and the commanders."

In addition to the unprofessional relationship charges, Wicks is accused of committing an indecent act and obstruction of justice for allegedly asking one of the women to lie to investigators about their involvement.

He is the ninth MTI to stand trial in a basic training scandal that so far has led to accusations against 32 trainers. The Air Force has identified at least 62 victims or alleged victims.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook