Thursday, January 31, 2008

US v. Whiteside: case closed?

According to the Washington Post, the disturbing case of United States v. Whiteside may finally be drawing to a close. The article isn't a model of clarity, but it appears the convening authority declined to refer the charges to trial.

The Whiteside case was debated extensively on CAAFlog last month. A quick refresher: while deployed to Camp Cropper in December 2006, 1st Lt Elizabeth Whiteside allegedly pointed a loaded weapon at a major. She made statements to the effect that she wanted to kill her fellow soldiers, fired two rounds into the ceiling, and then shot herself in the stomach. She was eventually charged with, inter alia, assault on a superior commissioned officer, communcating a threat, wrongful discharge of a firearm, and malingering.

Earlier this week, prior to receiving word of the disposition of the pending charges, Lt Whiteside again attempted suicide, downing "dozens" of antidepressants and other pills. She is reported to be in stable condition.

No word on whether she will face new charges of malingering for this latest attempt.


Anonymous said...

While a previous blogger suggested that the recommendation against preferring charges against 1LT Whiteside demonstrates that the military justice system works, I continue to wonder.

The risk of malingering must be taken seriously, so I don't discount those bloggers who submitted strong pro-government opinions. But the system seems to have placed its thumb on that side of the scale already, versus calibrating the risk of real mental illness.

This is a policy question that the current system is not equipped to handle. I just hope that the service JAGs are weighing-in with recommendations. Is anybody going to raise this issue at the Code Committee Meeting? Or is that meeting going to be all about tweaking the Code to increase prosecutions?

Anonymous said...

I must confess, stereotypical as this observation is, that 1LT Whiteside's picture in the WP was incredibly sad, and just emitted depression.