Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kreutzer cont'

Sgt Kreutzer's offenses (shooting 19 soldiers, one of whom died) were committed in 1995. He was sentenced to death in 1996. In 2004, ACCA set aside all of the findings of guilty to which Kreutzer had pleaded not guilty, including one specification of premeditated murder, and his sentence. United States v. Kreutzer, 59 M.J. 773 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 2004). The Judge Advocate General of the Army certified the case to CAAF, which affirmed in 2005. United States v. Kreutzer, 61 M.J. 293 (C.A.A.F. 2005). Yesterday, according to this report in the Fayetteville Observer, Kreutzer entered guilty pleas, including to premeditated murder, in exchange for a non-capital referral. The prosecution will proceed to try to prove some other offenses for which Kreutzer pleaded guilty to lesser-included offenses. The contested portion of his case, as well as sentencing, will be in a military judge alone proceeding.

Since the military death penalty was reinstated in 1984, there have been 15 known military death sentences. Two were set aside in the initial CA's action. Eight have been set aside on direct appeal. In three of those cases, retrials or resentencing proceedings are still in their very early stages. In the four military capital cases where the initial sentence was reversed and the case is now complete, the death sentence wasn't reinstated in any of them (Dock, Curtis, Simoy, Thomas). Assuming that nothing happens before sentencing to interfere with yesterday's pleas, Kreutzer will become the fifth former military death row inmate to have his death sentence replaced with a non-capital sentence.


Anonymous said...

Good observation; how about this one:

In none of these cases was there doubt about the defendant's guilt, which is very unlike the situation in the civilian world.

egn said...

The first exposure I had to the Kreutzer case was in 2002, when I reported to the Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Defense Division. On a bulletin board by the coffee mess, was an article describing the unlikely friendship that had formed between SGT Kreutzer and MAJ Badger's widow.

It was an incredibly poignant story; I haven't been able to locate that article online. For all the discussion over the victims' rights during the Martinez court-martial, this would have provided a very refreshing counterpoint.

Anonymous said...

Has the military prosecution EVER actually won a big case?

Every big thing that has come down the pike has always been a huge loss - Kelly Flynn, Marine Gondola, SGM McKinney, MG Hale, Haditha, GTMO, etc. etc.