Here is a link to our Caaflog.com hosted version of the ex writ filed in the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals by counsel for former Sgt. Jessie Quintanilla, whose re-sentencing after reversal of his death sentence continues at Camp Pendleton. The Ex Writ is based on the military judge’s refusal, see orders here and here, to consider LWOP a permissible sentence for Quintanilla or allow a PTA provision that includes waiver of the right to request clemency and parole board review of his sentence. An interesting part of the ex writ is that while the military judge refused to allow LWOP as a punishment or waiver of NMCPB, the ex writ makes these observations:

Furthermore, on information and belief, Petitioner believes the Convening Authority will accept a pretrial agreement that provides for a non-capital sentencing hearing, conditioned upon a presentencing determination that Petitioner’s agreement to waive his right to request clemency or parole is legally permissible. . . .

Furthermore, on information and belief, Petitioner believes the Convening Authority will accept a pretrial agreement that provides for a non-capital sentencing hearing, conditioned upon a presentencing determination that Petitioner’s agreement to waive his right to request clemency or parole is legally permissible.

The ex writ does its best to distinguish United States v. Tate, 64 M.J. 269 (C.A.A.F. 2007), which had a similar, though not identical, waiver of NMCPB rights. On the LWOP issue the tide is a bit against Quintanilla, Ronghi and Thomas, but there is no case law directly on point as to whether LWOP applies retroactively (for a defendnat specifically asking for it to be applied retroactively).

Disclaimer: Almost everyone on this blog (OK, 3 of us) was a Quintanilla appellate defense counsel (or in the case of a commenter, trial counsel).

5 Responses to “USMC Capital Case Ex Writ”

  1. John O'Connor says:

    On the LWOP issue, it’s either retroactive or it’s not, and I suspect it’s not. On the parole/clemency issue, this is one of my major beefs with the court-martial system. You have an accused who wants to get a better deal by baraining away one of the chits he has to bargain with, and a CA who apparently wants what the accused would like to trade. Yet CAAF and (supposedly) the MCM preclude trhe deal everyone wants to make.

    [DISCLAIMER: I wrote and argued several pretrial motions in Quinanilla for the Government. I didn’t participate at trial or steal any evidence].

  2. Anonymous says:

    I know someone who was in the squadron that day, so I would like to see Quinanilla get the needle.

    I also think the resentence was properly ordered given the caselaw.

    I would hate to see this piece of crap get a deal to avoid the needle, and then turn out to be up for parole.

    On the other hand, with his ‘brown power’ excuse we could be looking at Mumia number two if he stays on death row.

  3. egn says:

    “I know someone who was in the squadron that day, so I would like to see Quinanilla get the needle.”

    That’s a … what, 2nd degree connection to the victim? If that. Anon 1004’s legal cred would be a lot higher if that irrelevant piece of information would have been left out.

    On the other hand, maybe not. This just sounds like someone who’s got some (real or imagined) beef with Sgt Quintanilla and wanted to spout off.

    I agree with No-Man that the NMCPB waiver appears to be the stronger of the two arguments.

    Disclaimer: I was also member of the Quintanilla appellate defense team at one time.

  4. egn says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

    But also note, while I mentioned I was Quintanilla’s former counsel for sake of disclosure, I added “at one time.” Having been recused upon my transfer, I’ve not been Quintanilla’s defense counsel for some time. Thus, while I cannot engage in actions that would be detrimental to him, I was also not engaging in his defense.

    Accordingly, I would not feel compelled to make comments that attempt to explain the extenuating circumstances leading up to his actions, or any mitigating conduct post-shooting.

    Through your clarification I now understand that you want Quintanilla to get the needle not out of some derivative sympathy toward your friend’s XO, but because you had acquired second-hand knowledge of some of Quintanilla’s history in the squadron that made him more reprehensible to you.

    The way your post originally read, it sounded like the type of statement that goes along the lines of, “I have a friend who’s from New York, therefore that puts me in a more suitable position to say all detainees at GTMO should be left to rot there.” Or some such nonsense.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve known Jessie since we were kids. This is not something he would do on his own. He has a wife and son that he loves very much. why would he do something like this on his own and lose the family he had. you people really don’t know what your are talking about. You only know Jessie of a murderer, why not try to think of his mental state at the time.