WRAL report here.  Defense mitigation case was today.  Government case in aggravation . . . ?  Hopefully they go with a minimalist approach as I can personally attest to the dangers of overreaching Trial Counsel capital sentencing cases in the military.  Argument on sentence tomorrow.

13 Responses to “Hennis Afternoon Update”

  1. Jason Grover says:

    After a contested merits, there may not be all that much to put on. Victim-impact sometimes comes across weaker than it is imagined. But even powerful victim-impact can be over in a few minutes. It doesn’t take much to convince the members of the impact of the crimes. Understatement is sometimes the best approach.

  2. John Harwood says:

    From TC perspective, though, should probably still put on something, just for purposes of convincing ACCA and CAAF that the death penalty (making a big assumption that it’s imposed) is warranted based on the evidence.

  3. Cap'n Crunch says:

    You have the death of a child in this case don’t you? That probably goes a long way to a DP case. Just the same, I’m not convinced that you won’t see the defense arguing residual doubt?

    Question for anyone who has seen this issue arise (and I have not), do the members get to learn that there was a prior acquittal in state court by a state jury as a matter in mitigation?

  4. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    I think DC have an argument that the prior acquittals are relevant, not a strong constitutional argument, but one based on Oregon v. Guzek, 546 U.S. 517 (2006).

  5. Cap'n Crunch says:

    Was giving this some thought. If you were Hennis, and you had killed someone, and gotten away with it, might you have thought about the fact that your continuing to draw retirement pay might well affect your ability to get the needle at the end of the day? Might it have been better to have resigned and severed the CM jurisdiction?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Technology…, assuming he did it, then he didn’t plan on it getting better.

    Again assuming he did it, and he’d gotten away with it, he probably didn’t think he’d ever have to worry about being re-tried because he couldn’t imagine technology evolving to the point that so much later his DNA could still be typed.

  7. manasa says:

    if this guy was bonking some captain’s wife, why kill her?. what is the motive here?.

    I mean this whole case makes no sense.

    At this point, I dont believe the government has jurisdiction in this case. Further, I hope at best this case clarifies once and for all this business of the government being able to try people who are retired simply because they are collecting retirement an earn benefit.

    As a matter of law this needs to be addressed once and for all.

    Serve your country for the best part of your life and as a government we reserve the right to continue jurisdiction over you for life?

    Hell of a recruiting tool for America’s sons and daughters.

  8. Cap'n Crunch says:

    anon: Has the man been living in a cave for the last 20 years? The news has been rife with cases where DNA, as it evolves, has freed the innocent and condemned the guilty. Notwithstanding your argument that it was hubris on Hennis’ part, I just find it curious that, if he had killed her, he wouldn’t sever the CM jurisdiction just to make sure.

  9. JAE says:

    The WRAL article made me curious on whether the defense put on any character evidence during findings…..does anyone know? Would seem that some of the sentencing information (i.e. “he read to me every night”, etc.) might have been “pertinent character traits” of the accused and potentially helpful to the defense on findings. Of course the defense would potentially have been limited to reputation/ opinion under 404/ 405, and if he has some bad character stuff, maybe they don’t want to open the door. I certainly would have considered trying to get some good soldier/ good character stuff in on findings if possible.

  10. anon says:

    Does court-martialing someone off the retired list require the act to have been committed while the member was on active duty? In other words, what if Hennis had murdered someone after he retired…could the military assert jurisdiction over that, too?

  11. Anonymous says:

    well you and I follow this area because we are dealing with crim law every day. No guarantee he’d have been following it. Even if he had, no guarantee that he’d know about or understand the concept of dual sovereigns.

    A criminal who “gets away” with an offense vis-a-vis an acquittal has little reason to be afraid.

  12. dreadnaught says:

    No Man,

    Are you suggesting that it is not a good idea for a TC to make a “highly objectionable” sentencing argument, while standing in the witness stand, wherein he bellows at the Accused and calls him a “bad hombre,” “animal,” and “gang-banging”? How could that result in a less-than-preferable outcome?

  13. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Sitting in the witness chair might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in that hypo.