Widow of Slain Soldier Sues Army for Access to Trial Records
Summary: Siobhan Esposito, widow of slain US Army officer Captain Phillip Esposito, is suing the Army for records from the 2008 court-martial of a soldier who was acquitted of murdering her husband.
ALEXANDRIA, VA, January 19, 2011 — Siobhan Esposito, the widow of murdered US Army officer Captain Phillip Esposito, has filed suit against the Department of the Army for its failure to turn over records surrounding the 2008 court-martial and acquittal of Army Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez, whom the Army had accused of murdering Esposito.
Mrs. Esposito’s lawsuit, filed today before the US District Court for the District of Columbia, asserts that the Army wrongly denied her Freedom of Information Act request for the record of Martinez’s 2008 murder trial. She believes the court-martial and acquittal represent an unacceptable low point in the Army’s administration of justice and that the injustice of her husband’s death demands public scrutiny.
“My husband was a West Point graduate and a dedicated officer who upheld the highest standards of personal integrity and leadership. He was a wonderfully loving husband and devoted father. Phillip’s absence in our daughter’s and my life is deeply painful,” says Esposito, “and his needless murder and the inexcusable acquittal of his murderer is a nightmare that demands a full and just accounting.”
“My monument to Phillip’s life is to work to prevent future tragedies such as his,” says Esposito. “To fulfill that purpose, I need to fully understand why my husband was murdered and how his killer was permitted to go free. I need the records of his accused murderer’s trial.”
“There is no legitimate reason for the Army to further insult Phillip’s memory by denying me the ability to review its files surrounding his case so that I may learn from these records and press the Army to take the necessary action to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
Esposito is represented by Eugene R Fidell of Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP. His practice includes federal administrative law and military justice, a field in which he frequently serves as a commentator for national and foreign news media.