Today’s CAAF grant in United States v. Maynulet, __ M.J. ___, No. 09-0073/AR (C.A.A.F. June 1, 2009), is the latest chapter in what seems like a fascinating case. The case involves Army Captain Roselio Maynulet and an alleged unlawful killing of an Iraqi wounded during a firefight with US forces in Kufa, Iraq. As Stars and Stripes reported, here, Capt. Maynulet’s case involved complex questions of conduct in “battle.” This succinct summary of the case is courtesy of a thesis written by Maj. Mynda Ohman, see thesis here at page 124:
Captain Rogelio Maynulet was charged with murder and dereliction of duty for shooting an Iraqi on May 21, 2004. At the Article 32 pretrial hearing, witnesses testified that the man was badly wounded and missing part of his skull after a firefight and that CPT Maynulet told a fellow officer that he shot the man out of compassion. After the pretrial hearing, the division commander decided not to go forward with the murder charge and instead referred the charge to trial as assault with intent to commit murder. At the court-martial that began in late March 2005, CPT Maynulet was convicted of the lesser offense of assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter; facing a maximum of ten years of imprisonment, he was sentenced to a dismissal from the U.S. Army.
The Iraqi was rumored to be the driver for Muqtada al-Sadr, thus why the case garnered immediate attention.
Another interesting tidbit is that the case may never have come to the attention of the convening authority, but for video of the killing captured by an unmanned aerial droone. See S&S report here. The case was covered extensively in 2005 when the verdict was handed down, though the appeal to ACCA received little attention (I can’t even find it on ACCA’s website).
If anyone has the opinion or petition briefs please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to see what the mistake of law defense would have been and if it involved interpretation of ROE or something cool like that–this CBS report seems to suggest such an argument by the defense.
Part of the story of the case is the timing, March 2005. If anyone can tell us the other parallel story at that time that makes the case even more interesting you’ll get . . . a big ata boy.