Although no one in the United States can be convicted of a crime unless the defendant confesses, a judge so finds in a “bench” trial, or a jury renders a “guilty” verdict, nothing prevents American citizens from drawing their own conclusions about someone’s criminal conduct, particularly a public figure.
Which brings me, inevitably, to Democrat Party presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It is no longer legitimately arguable that for many, if not all, of Clinton's emails she used a private, unsecured server located in the civilian world.
Nor is there any doubt that some of that email was secret and top secret (whether or not it was so marked with a yellow highlighter).
These are facts, which even her cabal of spinners, stooges, and sycophants cannot evade.
Which brings me to Sergeant Rickie, a pseudonym, and an illustrative case under a major federal statute to which Mrs. Clinton is exposed.
The sergeant was responsible for all “code word” and other classified material being received by the intelligence division at the headquarters of a military branch in Washington, D.C.
Over the course of several months, he places classified materials in his desk, located in an authorized secured area (SCIF).
Due to a conflict with his supervisor, the sergeant requests a transfer, which is approved.
On his last day at work, the sergeant hastily packs his briefcase which contains classified material from his desk and leaves the SCIF. He has no authority to remove the classified material.
Now he has the classified material at home.
Several weeks later, he stumbles on it.
Justifiably fearing he’s in big trouble, he has three choices. Destroy it immediately, and lie when the military shows up (a federal crime). Or return it, and face whatever music the military wants to play. Or keep it and, figure out what to do with it later.
Stupidly, he stashes it in his garage.
Enter the movers, and the packers.
And then at his new duty station, the unpackers.
You know what’s coming next.
An unpacker finds the classified material from the sergeant's desk.
Enter the military investigators, who find even more classified material in the sergeant’s new home, some of which is marked “NOFORN,” “Secret,” and even “Top Secret.” Some of this material is marked “compartmented,” another mega-serious classification.
Title 18, Section 793(f) of the United States Criminal Code, the federal espionage statute, provides that:
Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense,
(1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed or
(2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Sergeant Rickie is tried at a general court-martial by a military judge without a jury, and eventually takes a plea to one count of violating Section 793(f). He is sentenced to three years' confinement, busted to private, forfeits pay, and receives a dishonorable discharge. (Later, the prison sentence is reduced to ten months.)
There are other cases under Section 793(f), both in the military and civilian jurisdictions, with outcomes considerably harsher for those who with gross negligence mishandle classified information or don’t promptly report its loss.
Whether Hillary Rodham Clinton will be indicted by Obama’s Department of [In]Justice is unknown.
Whether she violated the Espionage Act is not.