Army Times reports:  A court-martialed U.S. soldier has been found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility in the killing of a civilian contractor in Iraq.  And Houston Chronicle here.  This was a military judge alone case.

Thursday, The Republic reported: A court-martial was expected to wrap up Friday for a U.S. soldier accused of killing a civilian contractor in Iraq, and a military judge will then decide whether Pfc. Carl T. Stovall was mentally competent when prosecutors say he shot the Hungarian laborer to death.  Here are some of the points from Friday’s hearings reported by the kdhnews.com.

On Friday, the prosecution called psychiatric witnesses to rebut defense claims that Pfc. Carl T. Stovall, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, was unable to appreciate the nature and act of his crime.

However:

During his testimony, Lyszczarz said he conducted two interviews with Stovall for four hours each and admitted there was "pressure from the top" to get the evaluation done in a timely manner.
The "complexity of the case determines how much time you should spend," Johnson testified. "I have never conducted a competency (evaluation) in just four hours."

11 Responses to “Flash! United States v. Stovall”

  1. Ama Goste says:

    When’s the last time that happened in a court-martial?

  2. John Baker says:

    This spring a court-martial at Quantico found a Marine not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility.

  3. A. Hernandez says:

    We had a similar finding on a judge alone trial at Ft. Stewart about two years ago (charge clearly not as serious as here as our case was an 8-year AWOL). The psychologist who did the board testified for the defense that she’d changed her mind after getting further information and medical records from the defense and that it had been a very difficult decision to change her original findings but that it was ‘the right thing to do.’ After that trial, the Ft. Stewart would not let her do boards without the ‘assistance’ of an O-3 Psychiatrist (she has been licensed since 1974). At another case, she cried while we were talking to her because of the pressure she said she was under. I believe she quit soon after.

  4. stewie says:

    Why in the world would you pressure this as the government?? Just dumb, whomever did the pressuring (I realize it could have been someone at the hospital).

  5. N says:

    Last year there was a Navy case where that happened, out of Norfolk (US v. Swift).

  6. Dew_Process says:

    Command influence, perhaps?

  7. Cap'n Crunch says:

    If you take a look at this guy’s picture, well… he looks like he is insane. The bigger (and better) question is: how is it that a diagnosed skitzophrenic is medically qualified to enter the military and, moreover, stay in the military if onset occurred after enlistment? Doesn’t the whole carrying weapons and seeing things just beg for an incident of this nature?

  8. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Cap’n Crunch–I once had a gov’t psychiatrist (active duty officer) testify almost exactly in line with your question. The essence of his testimony at trial on the question of the accused’s sanity was that because members of the military are in a closed society and constantly monitored by others in the military, it was impossible for a person to be on active duty and insane.

    My defense expert (who often testified for the prosecution in a major metropolitan area) thought my client was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. The jury disagreed.

  9. k fischer says:

    Had a reception battalion recruit go nuts before shipping downrange at Benning back in ’06. They put him in pretrial where he asked the female MP to come over to his cell where he proceeded to dangle his dingleling between the bars of his cell laughing in a crazy fashion like the real murderer in ‘The Green Mile.’

    I knew the guy was not right during our first meeting, as he gave me the thousand yard stare. The magistrate kept him in pretrial up in civilian confinement, even though I jumped up and down that he should have been up on the 4th Floor.

    It’s funny. I demanded a speedy trial and sanity board, and I never heard back from the Government. I drove up to the civilian confinement facility to meet with him, and learned that he was given an ELS about a week after the PTC hearing. The Government never told me that he was discharged.

  10. Paco says:

    A news article in regards to this case said the following: “Inkenbrant argued that statements Stovall made to investigators also implied he understood the wrongness of his act, such as initially asking for a lawyer, and later claiming the shooting was an accident.”

    In general request counsel cannot be used against a member. Though I have not done direct research on this particulair use, I am concerned that a member’s requesting an attorney is being used against him in what appears to be a negative way. Understanding some journalistic rearranging of words could have given a different meaning to the original argument.

  11. Cicero says:

    Paco: The papers did not report that this case included a confessional stipulation type pre-trial agreement. This removed any question that the Accused’s actions satisfied each of the elements of Art 118 beyond a reasonable doubt. Mental responsibility was the only contested issue. In that respect, the ability to request counsel then return to law enforcement, waive, and render a hand written statement is highly relevant of mental ability and hence responsibility. The request for counsel, therefore, was not offered to meet the Government’s burden, but to hold the Defense to its own.