Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3, 3 High Profile Courts Martial This Week, Ah, Ah, Ah

We learned today that in addition to following the high profile courts martial of Sgt Michael Leahy in Germany and Sgt Jermaine Nelson in Camp Pendleton, we are going to need to watch things in the Bluegrass state as well. The court martial of SSgt Hal Warner, according to a local news report here, will be short circuited by a plea agreement. According to local news reports, SSgt Warner will "plead guilty to charges of assault, maltreatment and making a false official statement." The report also quotes Warner's lawyer, Ed Smith, as saying that the deal "calls for charges of premeditated murder, accessory after the fact to murder and obstruction to justice to be dismissed." Warner along with 1stLt Michael Behenna are accused of killing an Iraqi detainee in Tikrit. According to news reports, here, preliminary hearings ended up excluding Warner's confessions, though I am guessing his co-accused won't be so lucky in excluding that evidence.

Testimony in the Leahy case began yesterday. According to AP, here, SSgt Jess Cunningham's testimony put a pistol in Sgt Leahy's hand as he walked toward the blindfolded and handcuffed detainees and just before he heard shots that killed the four detainees. According to the report, Cunningham testified that Leahy's co-accused, Sgt Hatley, asked Cunningham to participate, but he refused.

According to the ever reliable North County Times, here, the Sgt Jermaine Nelson court-martial appears to be stalled with pre-trial motions. According to the report, defense counsel Phil Simmons is objecting to the expert on PTSD provided to the defense now that the government has hired a world renowned PTSD expert. Reports say defense counsel want an equally qualified expert, since there own conceded that he is "not as qualified as the prosecution's expert," or at least the one they originally requested.


Phil Cave said...

United States v. Warner appears to be on point regarding the expert.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Cave. I doubt the government read Warner before the pulled that move. Now they will have to shell out $$$ for an equally qualified defense expert, or settle for a less qualified expert for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I was having lunch with a friend who didn't serve, and he asked why the military justice system can't handle a simple trial correctly.

I thought, and I came up with:

'Usually, the system is busting some poor E-3 for checks or pissing hot or drunk driving, and he wants out anyway, so the whole issue of proof and rights thing goes by the wayside. The victim signed an agreement stiping to 90% of the proof in return for getting a max of BCD and a bus ticket home. Kind of hard to mess up a single issue of proof when the victim doesn't really care and his defense attorney lives next to the prosecutor, drinks with him, will be working directly with him next month, and their kids are in school together.

When the justice system has to actually have a real trial, no one knows how to do it right, including the judge. Then add in the fact that the people in charge of the system have been in 'law' for 15 years, and spent 6 of those reviewing contractual security and another 6 doing union hearings that a retarded monkey could handle, and you have a whole bunch of no ability to do things right.'

Anonymous said...

War is hell. But if we have rules - and if they are really rules -- about how we treaat prisoners, then let's enforce them.

Everyone, soldier or not, needs to act as if everythingn they did would be known. If you aren't going to admit doing something, don't do it.

I feel terrible for anyone going to war. I feel terrible for the Iraqis that our troops killed. Its a damn shame we didn't get off our lunatic oil addiction 30 years ago. Sgt Warner would be working construction back in OK, and Saddam would have been a dessert goat herder.