A military court has reprimanded a Marine two-star general at Camp Pendleton for unlawfully meddling in a court-martial case against a noncommissioned officer accused of abusing his troops.
In a ruling last week, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals in Washington overturned the court-martial conviction of Sgt. Jaime Ortiz. The court found that Maj. Gen. Eric M. Smith went too far in his crackdown against hazing throughout the 1st Marine Division.
Prosecutors had alleged that Ortiz conspired with fellow noncommissioned officers to haze five junior Marines by forcing them to get special haircuts and ordering them to perform excessive physical exercises. Ortiz was also accused of punching two of them in the chest, according to court filings.
The Marines have tried to eradicate hazing for five years. In 2013, former Marine commandant Gen. James Amos issued an anti-hazing order that was designed to track and stamp out abuse throughout the Corps.
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