Here is the Tacoma-News Tribune article and CNN article about the Art. 32 Officer’s report in the SPC Morlock investigation.  The IO, COL Molloy, recommends general court-martial according to the report.  One quote from Art. 32 report, in the Tacoma News-Tribune story, addresses the diminished mental capacity argument offered by the defense during the hearing:

During the times alleged in the charges, [SPC] Morlock functioned as a team leader for a dismounted infantry squad, then carrying the designation of corporal, a leader . . . In the eyes of his leaders and fellow soldiers, he was an effective, reliable, engaged team leader. The undersigned found no evidence that the accused was behaving in an erratic, impaired or irrational manner – as an intoxicated person would – at the time of the alleged offenses.

SPC Morlock’s defense counsel was reportedly incredulous that charges alleging the thrill killing of an Afghan civilian by at least two NCOs and at least another Afghan civilian would go forward based on the evidence available.  He’s quoted as responding to the report:

I didn’t expect this at all. . . This was a very thorough hearing. We won the hearing. I don’t understand how this could go any further on a murder charge for which there is no weapon, no body and nothing except a highly questionable statement from Morlock.

17 Responses to “Art. 32 Officer Recommends GCM for Stryker Brigade Soldier’s Case”

  1. anon says:

    How do you “win” an Art 32?

  2. sg says:

    I would’ve thought Defense Counsel would consider a ‘win’ at an Art 32 investigation as a result of no charges, or an Art 15 at the most.
    “You keep using that word. I donna think it means wha’ you think it means”–Innigo Montoya

  3. John O'Connor says:

    As a TC, I never tried to “win” an Article 32. I just tried to survive it.

    It wasn’t my case, but there was a major violent crime (I think multiple forcible rapes) that had an Article 32 in my shop a few months before I arrived. The victims were all civilians, so the TC dumped in written statements from those witnesses (who could be “invited” but not compelled to attend) and the only live witness was an MP who was there to testify about a speeding charge filed on top of the rape charges.

  4. Bridget says:

    Well, if you are the defense you can “win” at a 32-which means the charges go away-a very desirable result.

  5. publius says:

    Had to go to a GCM. Even if the 32 officer advised against, CA would have referred it. Too much publicity. Like it or not this one needs a full airing. 32 officer, and/or CA, would have been crucified if they squashed this one. All the 32 accomplished was to build a record for the defense, safely assuming the TC put in way too much evidence (esp oral testimony), and defense counsel is competent. Now every inconsistency betw/ 32 record and evidence/testimony at GCM will hurt the government. “Winning” the 32 is sometimes the worst thing that can happen to a TC. This is shaping up like one of those times.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You have to question who this guy is and how experienced he is if he is talking about “winning” a pre-trial hearing leading to a non-binding recommendation. Did he think it was going to be dismissed?

  7. Anon says:

    Yes DC can fly speck every part of the 32 transcript, but it also locks in testimony that can be of benefit for both sides. A TC never loses if he plays it fair and allows for a robust 32.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t blame the defense counsel because (other than not give any statement) what was he going to say? Now, he might have a tiny problem in the videotaped confession of his client, but minor details. I’m confident that will get supressed because of Morlock’s use of sleeping bills, etc… Save a spot at the Christmas table at Leavenworth for that soldier.

  9. John O'Connor says:

    A TC never loses if he plays it fair and allows for a robust 32.

    Good one.

  10. Christopher Mathews says:

    I don’t understand how this could go any further on a murder charge for which there is no weapon, no body and nothing except a highly questionable statement from Morlock.

    The fact that the cvilian DC “doesn’t understand how” the case could go “any farther” says a lot more about the civilian DC’s familiarity with the process than it does anything else.

  11. sg says:

    Does it say that SPC Morlock should get a new lawyer? Cause that’s what it sounds like.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Publius, your point is well taken, if odious. The abandonment of the judicial function of a convening authority based on political concerns is bad. After all, a 32 is a probable cause determination, not a *policial cause* determination.

    Referral by CA’s of charges, based on political concerns and not evidence, are anathema to our justice system and a very real threat to its independence. It wouldn’t be so bad if courage were a virtue unvalued by our leadership. The “full airing” of which you speak comes only at the expense of the accused in cases where the underlying investigation (including the 32) give rise to significant questions about the basis for the charges.

    We’ve seen a lot of cases referred when the CA knew there was insufficient evidence. Not saying this case is of that stripe, but the practice has to stop.

  13. ksf says:

    That quote was from Geoffrey Nathan who has 20 years criminal defense experience. I have also read where Michael Waddington was representing SPC Morlock, as well. Don’t know Nathan, but I do know Michael and he is one of the best in the biz.

    Sounds like the quote is more for the public who might wonder why the Government has not released any physical evidence, if the above is true.

    As a Trial Counsel, I would want to go heavy at the Article 32 to intimidate the accused and let him know what kind of prosecutor and evidence he was facing. Makes the defense counsel’s job easier when I come back with an offer.

    I guess that if there were some killing going on, then there should be a body, annd if they were cutting body parts off, then there should be some DNA or a weapon, and perhaps there should have been some pictures of body parts admitted into evidence. Rumor is that there are body parts, but apparently they weren’t introduced at the Article 32. Makes me wonder how true this “confession” is.

    A couple of years ago, some freak confessed to murdering Jon Bennett Ramsey and the press ran with it, as well. How do we know this isn’t the same thing?

  14. Anonymous says:

    maybe he did think it was going to be dismissed. Plenty of cases are dismissed after an Article 32 hearing where the defense has done fairly well so not sure why such a belief is so incredulous.

    Certainly, there are plenty of cases where the article 32 is nothing more than a formality, but maybe he has dealt with SJAs more likely to take the process seriously.

  15. Anonymous says:

    lot of sharp-shooting here unfairly if you ask me. He’s making a statement to the press, so he says hey, this is crazy, don’t know how you go forward when they have nothing.

    It’s a statement for public consumption, do folks around here REALLY think the defense attorney is sitting in his office, stumped as to how this happened?

  16. Christopher Mathews says:

    … do folks around here REALLY think the defense attorney is sitting in his office, stumped as to how this happened?

    Well, we have spent a lot of time recently looking at the antics of Paul Rolf Jensen …

  17. publius says:

    “As a Trial Counsel, I would want to go heavy at the Article 32 to intimidate the accused and let him know what kind of prosecutor and evidence he was facing. Makes the defense counsel’s job easier when I come back with an offer.”

    That’s what discovery is for, ksf. If you’re Maj War Hero and the Defense Counsel is 1stLt Failed LandNav, going big might work. But a competent DC will just sit there and think “Keep it coming, tough guy. Thanks.”