Friday, August 17, 2007

A right to all or nothing?

Corporal Miergrimado shot another corporal in the neck. The facts leading up to this incident make for a good read. See United States v. Miergrimado, No. NMCCA 200501128 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Feb. 22, 2007). As a result of this incident, Miergrimado was charged with attempted premeditated murder. At trial, the defense objected to the military judge instructing the members on attempted voluntary manslaughter, preferring an all or nothing strategy. The military judge nevertheless instructed on LIOs and, in an opinion by then-Chief Judge Wagner, NMCCA rejected Miergrimado's argujment that United States v. Waldron, 9 M.J. 811 (N.C.M.R. 1980), aff'd, 11 M.J. 36 (C.M.A. 1981), allowed the defense to choose whether to go all or nothing. The Navy-Marine Corps Court also rejected the defense argument that there shouldn't have been separate LIO instructions to attempted unpremeditated murder and attempted voluntary manslaughter because there is no difference between the two offenses. Now CAAF will play the Howie Mandel role in this high stakes game of Deal or No Deal. CAAF has granted review on the following issue: "WHETHER THE NAVY-MARINE CORPS COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE MILITARY JUDGE'S DECISION AT TRIAL TO INSTRUCT THE MEMBERS ON THE CLAIMED LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE OF ATTEMPTED MANSLAUGHTER OVER THE ACCUSED'S OBJECTION." United States v. Miergrimado, __ M.J. ___, No. 07-0436/MC (C.A.A.F. Aug. 16, 2007).

1 comment:

John O'Connor said...

If there's a right to all or nothing, then wouldn't the prosecution have to make a separate charge for each and every LIO? I'd love to see those charge sheets. I assume the typical defense response (and an appropriate one at that) would be "overcharging" and "multiplicity."