Monday, April 20, 2009

Capital MEJA Case to Resume Apr. 27

Opening arguments are scheduled in the former Pfc Steven Green capital MEJA case on Apr. 27. As the Houston Chronicle reports, here, prosecutors and defense attorneys seated a jury of 15 on Friday. The case will now take a 1-week hiatus to allow the American Quilters Society show to take over the town of Paducah, Kentucky, which as our loyal reader knows, is no joke. See prior coverage here. As the story reports, Green is charged with "raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her and her family" in Mahmoudiya, Iraq in March 2006.

Our sharp readers will ignore the AP story's error in this sentence, "Former Pfc. [Green] is the first ex-soldier to be charged as a civilian under a 2000 law that allows U.S. authorities to prosecute former members of the military for crimes overseas." Oh well, I guess if the AUSAs get a murder conviction it will be a first.


Texas Lawyer said...

Sorry I'm kind of a Johnny-come-lately to this subject. But when did Troth v. Quarles die? Because I thought it was still good law.

I understand that this defendant has not necessarily "severed all relationship with the military and its institutions." But it's all very suspect to me anyway.

Texas Lawyer said...

Troth should be Toth. Sorry.

Christopher Mathews said...

Appropos of the earlier discussions about MSG Hatley's trial, I look forward to the anonymous posters suggesting that no one can truly judge Mr. Green's actions "unless they've walked in his shoes," or that the alleged offenses are just part of the "fog of war."

John O'Connor said...

Toth dealt with constitutional limits on court-martial jurisdiction. This case is proceeding in federal district court.

Anonymous said...

What Hatley did is the correct action in an occupation. See, eg, werwolves and Eisenhower's orders for summary executions.

His actions were still illegal under the orders he had been given (wrongfully so, but that is a problem with our then president, SecDef, and general officers).

Rape has not been a tactic that the US has used for an occupation. Some reports state that the Soviet forces used it with success.

I would be more suspect if the only witnesses here were locals and the media, but in this case there appears to be actual witnesses against him.

Justin said...

I can only assume that Mr. Kilcullen is being modest by posting anonymously at 17:17. Doubtless, an effort to avoid inundation with fawning emails and requests for guest speaking appearances.

No matter.

To you, Anonymous Counter-insurgency Expert (wink wink), a hearty thanks for the fine point on "correct" occupational action, viz., blindfolded summary executions of suspected partisans.

I must also tip my cap, for the second time in as many weeks on this esteemed page, at the citation to the Soviet model of post-war civilian-population management. A clerkship on Judge Bybee's Court awaits you, sir...

Anonymous said...


You forget about the gulags. GTMO has been far too humane. Our taxpayers are not receiving any real benefit from this free labor population. Anyone up for medical experiments?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mathews,

Surely you can see the difference b/w Hatley's case and this one. Hatley was involved in killing bad guys that had likely killed or at least tried to kill his men. Those guys needed killing. Green is a common criminal who raped a child and killed folks who had no connection to the bad guys, as far as I'm aware.

I don't think anyone would argue that any special life experience is required to sit in judgment of a thug like Green. Pure evil is pure evil, even if it wears a uniform. To judge Hatley, however, under the same criminal standard is just ludicrous in my opinion.

Christopher Mathews said...

Anon 0753: To judge Hatley, however, under the same criminal standard [as Green] is just ludicrous in my opinion.

If we accept the premise that soldiers in war zone need not obey the law and may inflict whatever violence they see fit regardless of the obligations of their oaths -- a premise that must be embraced to excuse MSG Hatley -- then why isn't Green entitled to the same latitude?

Anonymous said...

I think we all know this war has and is being badly bungled by a president who knows nothing except his quest for more power (in either case), a secretary of defense who knows he wants to 'transform the military' into something with more profit for him and his buddies (in either case), and general officers more interested in their post-military chances for jobs or office than in setting good policy.

That has led to many wasted American lives, and the lost chance for peace in the middle eat.

Should we be shocked that a long service professional NCO does what should have been done years before? Should we punish him strongly for doing what should have been done all along? No, of course not.

We should treat his offense as we do the older man who shoots the rats in his back yard that come from the foreclosed house. Illegal? Yes. Something that should have been done? Yes. Slap on the wrist? Of course.

***If we accept the premise that soldiers in war zone need not obey the law and may inflict whatever violence they see fit regardless of the obligations of their oaths -- a premise that must be embraced to excuse MSG Hatley -- then why isn't Green entitled to the same latitude?***

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mathews,

You and others here give the "ivory tower" response to any suggestion that what MSG Hatley did should not be criminalized. That's an easy response to give when you haven't been through what those Soldiers have.

Dwight Sullivan said...

Judge Mathews the Greatest's perspective isn't an "ivory tower" view. It's a legal view. I'm not speaking about the Hatley case because I have no knowledge of what happened there. But summarily executing a bound detainee who poses no current physical threat to his captors is plainly in violation of both U.S. and international law. Even if the U.S. wanted to legalize such an action -- which it should not want to do -- the U.S. would be bound by its treaty obligations not to do so. And if it did so anyway, it would make members of its armed forces subject to trial by other nations for committing war crimes.