Saturday, December 06, 2008

Martinez analysis

Here's an article from today's Fayetteville Observer analyzing the Martinez capital court-martial, which ended in a complete acquittal on Thursday. The interesting part begins in the subsection labeled "The widows."

Here's an article from the Lower Hudson Journal News providing more details about earlier overtures to the victims' families about a pretrial agreement.

Here's the Fayetteville Observer's editorial on the case.

And here's a link to a post-verdict op-ed written by Barbara Allen, the widow of one of the murdered officers.


Anonymous said...

I do not see how anybody who has not seen and heard the evidence and the arguments can comment intelligently about this case. The press coverage was superficial. Its possible this case was won on voir dire - as some of the commentary suggested.

The irony in reading the complaints of the slain officers' widows is that the type of issues they complain about are often complaints raised by the defense bar after a guilty finding.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that one of the biggest MJ cases of this era is drawing zero commentary. Goes to show that most on this blog are more inclined to parse the minutiae of guilty pleas...sad really....

Marcus Fulton said...

5:28: So what do you bring to the table? Apparently few people on this blog have any insight into the facts of the case, and plain acquittals don't raise many new legal issues.

If something got missed, post it. And put your name on it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone irked the Kabul Klipper, and I would like to say it wasn't me. I am aware that he has nothing to do out there while cutting circles other than look for CAAFlog posts that piss him off. I always found it best to not awaken the beast.

Dew_Process said...

I had the opportunity to talk yesterday at length, with someone who had sat through 3 weeks of the Martinez trial, and who was familiar with most of the physical evidence.

This was another case of CID "jumping the gun" to point the finger at Martinez, and Trial Counsel blinded by the fog, and making "rookie" mistakes in their zeal to convict.

Martinez - because of the well publicized arguments - was one of a number of original suspects. But, CID became convinced he was the culprit after his uniform showed chemical particulates from the C4 explosives used in the Claymore. Only problem was, they didn't test the other uniforms from others in the unit seized at the time of the incident. Once Martinez's came back "positive," they concluded it was him, and did not (as typical for them) work to then "exclude" other possible suspects.

Needless to say, the Defense tested the remaining uniforms and "surprise," ALL had the same levels and concentrations of the particulates as on Martinez's uniform. Months later, the Defense went back to the scene, took random samples from Soldiers there and most all of those samples showed positive for C4 particulates - the end result being, what appeared to be the incriminating "link" to the Claymore, was meaningless in the forensic context.

The next "mistake" the TC made, was to focus on the now well-publicized "inventory" alleging that there were 3 missing Claymores. By focusing on that inventory, they created a door that let the Defense drive semi's through. First, there were 2 inventories - the one allegedly showing the 3 missing Claymores which the prosecution focused on; and a second one, which accounted for ALL Claymores, grenades, etc. Now, that in and of itself is not surprising - but the problem was, if you focus on the inventory showing 3 missing Claymores, and assume that 1 is the one used for the fragging, where then are the remaining 2 "missing" Claymore's? There were numerous searches, both command and CID and no trace of the other 2 allegedly missing Claymores were found, and there was absolutely zero linkage to Martinez - who as was widely reported, could not have sole-access to anything, basically giving him a quasi-alibi for stealing the Claymores.

The clincher for the defense, was essentially, "the glove doesn't fit" argument. For those of you who have "played" with Claymores, in the "controlled" firing mode the "Clacker" is attached via wire to the mine and squeezed to fire it. Unless gerry-rigged, the length of the wire is standard - here, the wire had not been tampered with or lengthened and so, the radius from where it could be detonated was a simple thing to demonstrate - only the government never apparently got around to doing that. The Defense did - Martinez's KNOWN location was double the maximum distance from where the mine was detonated, and thus, put him way out of the "kill zone" for detonation purposes.

There of course is much more, but these are the highlights.

Mike "No Man" Navarre said...


Thank you so much for the inof and analysis. Let us know if anything else stood out. On the inventory issue, I have to ask. If there were tow inventories and one was perfect and the other had 3 missing, where did the ones used to kill the two officers come from? Someone used a claymore to kill the officers. The question is just who. Are there other missing claymores at that base? Was this truly a beyond a reasonable doubt case?

Dew_Process said...

According to the individual who I spoke with, the inventories weren't duplicative - meaning that to some extent (with the exception of the Claymores) they didn't inventory the same things or places. But 2 things "hurt" the government - they could not document just where the alleged 3 Claymore's came from and were thus "missing" from [nor could they locate the then supposed other 2 remaining Claymores anywhere in the vicinity]. The second inventory, while more expansive, didn't disclose any "count" discrepancies - BUT - at another FOB under the same Command, there was one "missing" Claymore, but there was no evidence that Martinez had ever been at that FOB period, much less ever got that Claymore. Those records were apparently pretty good and the missing Claymore was believed to have been assigned to a Platoon that was in a heavy firefight weeks before the incident, and at least one Claymore had been fired, and some Soldiers "thought" a second one may have been fired as well. Again, the prosecution's problem was that there was zero "linkage" to Martinez - people at that FOB apparently didn't even know him.

The bottom line was, the government couldn't prove where the Claymore AND the grenades used after the Claymore was detonated came from - but, the Defense at least was able to show that the grenades were different from the batches that were in the units inventory, again, suggesting that they came from someplace else. But, from where couldn't be tracked with any certainty.

But, the clincher seemingly was the clacker - from the radius of the wire, Martinez could not have been the one that detonated it, and supposedly the Defense "blind-sided" the gov't with that proof at trial.

This was a totally circumstantial case, and the Defense's "circumstances" apparently were more logical in excluding Martinez, e.g., the detonator wire radius, than the government's inculpatory circumstances.

There were btw, LIO's, but the total acquittal obviously means that the ID of the perpetrator, was the key issue.