In "Army deal drops sex assault charges" [News, March 17], about Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, what was originally a sexual assault case was reduced to a sexual misconduct case.

Why? Because of unbelievably shoddy legal work on the part of those responsible for the prosecutors and a judge who gave him a meaningless sentence: a fine, a reprimand and retention of all of his retirement benefits.

The defendant was originally brought up on charges punishable by life in prison. His sentence was arguably less than he would have gotten had he been an enlisted man.

Independent military trial lawyers should take over responsibility for the military justice system, as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has proposed.

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Donald Parker, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer is a World War II Army veteran.