See WRAL’s report here.  WRAL, however, continues to get some facts wrong.  The report states:  “If the jury decides in favor of the death penalty, it would be the first time in decades that the military has sent someone to death row.”  Two death sentences were adjudged by courts-martial in 2005.  Two were adjudged in 1996.  Three were adjudged in 1993.  So within the last two decades, the military has actually sent seven servicemembers to death row.

Here’s an update from the Fayetteville Observer.

Sentencing deliberations will reportedly resume at 1300.

15 Responses to “Military judge reportedly to instruct Hennis members on parole eligibility”

  1. Anonymous says:

    News Media go figure. But hey the Economy isn’t the best. Anything to help sell papers.

  2. Outwest says:

    Lawyers for convicted murderer Timothy B. Hennis are seeking to waive his right to parole if he is sentenced to life in prison.

    They filed the motion this morning with a military judge at Fort Bragg. The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, hasn’t ruled on the matter. Prosecutors opposed the motion, saying such a waiver isn’t allowed under military law.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, I agree it probably isn’t waivable, but even if it isn’t can the defense raise to the jury that Hennis has pledged and waived his right to parole as mitigating evidence?

  4. Outwest says:

    Prosecutors would object like crazy over that suggestion.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why does this round of litigation seem ad hoc like the defense didn’t anticipate this issue arising? If the panel was already deliberating then sentencing instructions were already given. Strange.

  6. Snuffy says:

    Funny, the government was insisting (for quite awhile) that Kreutzer sign a waiver of parole as a condition precedent to a pretrial argeement for non-cap referral. The defense insisted that it was not enforceable and silly, but the prosecutors wanted it anyway. For some reason common sense seemed to prevail and the waiver was neither signed nor required. No one ever said the US Government had to be consistent.

  7. John O'Connor says:

    This is part of the silliness of the Rules for Court-Martial in that they restrict what the accused can bargain away for a better sentence. I think the Government is right that under CAAF precedent the accused cannot, at the trial level, waive parole through a PTA or otherwise. Cf. RCM 705(c), United States v. Tate, 64 M.J. 269 (CAAF 2007). I also think the case law is wrong and the RCM ought to be amended.

  8. Ama Goste says:

    It really is illogical that a court could deem waiving parole in order to avoid the death penalty is against public policy.

  9. Article 16 says:

    Anon1414,
    I’m sure the defense did anticipate the issue. There may be plenty of other jurisdictional and merits evidentiary issues preserved for appeal, but what will count most for purposes of overturning a d.p. sentencing determination are the objections and anomalies in that phase of the trial. The question from the panel created space for several defense objections and litigation moves that may now, if necessary, be preserved for appeal. Since the government carries such an enormously difficult burden in smoothly litigating the punishment phase, I would characterize their approach as ad hoc–if they merely bent to the suggestions of the defense they wouldn’t be contributing to these issues for appeal.
    Ultimately, the panel should assess what it wants to assess. Instructions on parole processes are as irrelevant as instructions on the history of d.p. sentences being overturned. But that’s the irony of the panel questions–in this context, the more they ask, the more they potentially undermine any d.p. assessment.

  10. Phil Cave says:

    I thought I read that it was the defense who first introduced the issue by statements made during their argument of sentence?
    If so, how can the MJ be wrong in addressing that issue now that the members have a question possibly in response to the defense argument?
    If the defense said in closing he’d be locked up for life, is that sailing a little too close to the line, in this case where LWOP isn’t possible at the sentencing stage? Would that be invited error?

  11. Anonymous says:

    According to the local News. They took A vote 45 minutes ago wasn’t uniamous. A Panel member came out and asked The MJ was that an official vote and further instructions. I heard it on WRAL news live at Five. Is all Military Trials this Confusing?

  12. outwest says:

    The verdict does not have to be uniamous – one vote for life then it is life.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok so only 1 out of 12 have to vote Guilty in the Sentence Phase. I always wondered how the Military had such A high Conviction Rate. Thanks for the info.

  14. Ama Goste says:

    They already voted on findings (guilty v. not guilty). In sentencing, there is no “guilty” vote; the members vote on specific sentence options. The only way for Hennis to get a death sentence is for every member to vote for death. Therefore, a single vote for life equals a life sentence here.

  15. Article 16 says:

    except the judge is allowing them to keep revoting on death…so a single vote for life means let’s keep discussing and revoting until he changes his mind or until there’s a mistrial.