Open vs. Closed Hearing

By DAVID BOSSICK Managing Editor
Apr 15, 2020

Like most legal matters throughout the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many scheduled hearings and trials.

The same happened through the military court system, and the case facing Ludington native and U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Ethan Tucker.

Tucker is awaiting a general court martial in relation to the death for a fellow seaman.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the schedule significantly,” said Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Brickey, a public affairs officer for the Coast Guard.

Brickey said two litigate motions hearings are scheduled for 9 a.m. Pacific Time between May 11 and 13 and again between June 15 and 17. The general court martial was pushed back to begin on July 27. The first hearing was originally scheduled for March 25 and May 1. His original general court martial date was scheduled for June 15.

All of the hearings, including the general court martial, will be conducted at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, where Tucker is stationed. Alameda is in the San Fracisco Bay area.

Tucker faces charges in relation to the death of fellow seaman Ethan Kelch in January 2019 in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, after both men were serving aboard the cutter Douglas Munro. He underwent two Article 32 hearings, which are similar to preliminary hearings in civilian court.

Tucker faces charges of murder; involuntary manslaughter; aggravated assault; obstructing justice by allegedly misleading rescuers about the location of Kelch’s body; making false official statements by allegedly lying about details of a fight between himself and Kelch; and failing to obey an order or regulation by consuming alcohol while under the age of 21.

By DAVID BOSSICK Managing Editor

Apr 15, 2020