Friday, October 9, 2015

Army Drops AWOL Charges Against Ranger-Combat Medic

16 Months after Illegal Search, Army Drops AWOL Case against Ranger
The News Tribune
by Adam Ashton
Oct 08, 2015
At the time of his arrest, Schwisow was a well-regarded medic who had proved himself repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of his former officers said.
The Army has dismissed a long-running desertion case against a veteran Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army Ranger who spent more than a year in jail after military police illegally searched his Tacoma apartment.

An Army judge's decision late Tuesday gave Staff Sgt. Brian Schwisow his first night of freedom since he was taken into custody in June 2014.

The veteran of six combat deployments was apprehended after a team of at least six military police officers followed Schwisow's apartment building manager into his home without a warrant while aiming to arrest him on suspicion of desertion and drug-related charges.

Agents and prosecutors left no doubt in court this week that Army police erred when they walked into Schwisow's apartment with their guns drawn.

"You didn't have the authority to go into his apartment, did you?" Army Judge Col. Jeffery Lippert asked the senior Army drug suppression officer who participated in Schwisow's arrest.

"No sir," agent Jennifer Acevedo replied in court at a pretrial hearing.

That error, though serious, was not the reason that Lippert dismissed the six criminal charges against Schwisow.

The dismissal centered on delays that have kept Schwisow in confinement for 489 days while awaiting a trial for desertion and narcotics charges.
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