After messing around with Tom Sincavitch’s “Discharge for the good of the service” and finally turning it down, the Army has offered him a deal.
If Tom agrees to plead guilty to the charges of violating the orders of a sergeant and a captain they will drop the charge of violating an Army regulation, give him nine months confinement at Fort Leavenworth and then give him a Bad Conduct Discharge.
The three charges that Tom had been originally charged with carried a possible sentence of seven and a half years at hard labor.
Marc Kadish, Tom’s lawyer, said that the Army offered Tom such a good deal because they were still extremely uptight about a big political trial at the fort.
Immediately after the “discharge for the good of the Service” had been turned down Kadish had appealed to Secretary of the Army Resor to intervene in the process of applying for a permit to hold an on-base demonstration.
“The Army is obviously in a bind,” said Kadish. “They could not give Tom the discharge for fear of adverse reaction from Congress. Congress is uptight that deserters get small sentences; if a guy could take sanctuary, obey every order given to him, and then get off scot free they would have gone out of their mind. The only thing they could do was to offer him such a good deal.”
Even if Sincavitch accepts the deal, a “mock” trial must be held to satisfy the empty ritual of Army justice. This will still give Tom and his lawyer the opportunity to hold a political trial. In fact it gives them an even better opportunity because once the deal is signed nothing they do at trial can change it.
Members of the Detroit Resistance and other people who supported Tom during his sanctuary have already left for Fort Riley where they intend to help local people who carried on the organizing at Fort Riley. They have taken extra copies of the Fifth Estate and The Bond, The American Servicemen’s Union paper, along with them to distribute at the base and surrounding towns. A picnic for GIs is also scheduled to be held the Sunday before the Wednesday trial.
See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.