Bales Arraignment Tomorrow

Here is a link to the TN-T story on the SSGT Robert Bales arraignment tomorrow.  Additional coverage from Army Time here reporting that the capital court-martial for the alleged premeditated murder of 16 Afghan civilians may hear arguments on motions to prohibit SSGT Bales from presenting mental health evidence because Bales’ c0unsel has refused to allow him to submit to an RCM 706 mental health board.  From Army Times:

[Bales' defense counsel John Henry] Browne also said the judge has told attorneys on both sides to be ready to argue about whether the defense will be allowed to present any sort of mental-health defense, given that Bales has refused to participate in a “sanity board,” an Army review aimed at determining his mental state.

Browne had objected to the conditions for the sanity board, saying the Army would not let Bales have an attorney present and would not record the examination.

“The judge is trying to get us to deal with critical motions at the arraignment,” Browne said. “We need to slow this railroad down.”

Marine Court-Martial For Corpse Incident

Here is a Yahoo news story on proceedings in the court-martial of SSgt Edward Deptola.

Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola is accused of the desecration of remains and posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties. He also is accused of failing to properly supervise junior Marines and not reporting the misconduct.

Deptola and another Marine based at Camp LeJeune, N.C., were charged last year after video surfaced showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghans in July 2011. In the video, one of the Marines looked down at the bodies and quipped, “Have a good day, buddy.”

Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. Chamblin was sentenced to 30 days confinement, reduced in rank, fined and ordered to forfeit part of his pay for six months. Three other Marines were given administrative punishments for their roles in the matter.

5 Responses to “Military Justice News for Jan. 16, 2013”

  1. SFC V says:

    It seems to me the marine cases are the kind of stuff that summary courts martial were meant for.  Considering the other staff sergeant essentially got SCM penalties such a disposition seems appropriate. 

  2. Dew_Process says:

    RE: Bales – another “promising” start to another capital case!  Where’s the adult supervision of this?  The right to counsel has already attached and if the defense was satisfied with recording it [and why the government would object to something that could clearly help them down the road] satisfied Due Process, then why would anyone consider objecting to such a practice?  Oh, my bad.  I forgot, because they can!
     
    I swear, we’re marching backwards to the era of “drum-head” justice.

  3. Aimee Bateman says:

    Why would a convening authority convene a capital case without a 706 board result in his hands after the defense counsel publically declared the accused to be mentally ill?

  4. Lieber says:

    If the Accused refuses to participate in a 706 board than you can’t have one.  I would expect an ineffective assistance of counsel argument post-conviction.

  5. Dew_Process says:

    @Lieber – that’s not IAC.  The Accused didn’t refuse to participate in a 706 Eval, only that he wanted eitherhis counsel present orthat the proceedings be recorded before he would participate.  Once the right to counsel has attached – which it clearly had long before the 706 issue arose – a defendant can only waive the right to counsel unless s/he is competent.  See, e.g., Godinez v. Moran, 509 U.S. 389, 396 (1993) [a 20 year old case!].  If the clientis not competent to waive the right to counsel, then the defense counsel is in an even bigger ethical quandry – but using the guiding principle of “do no harm to your client,” refusing to allow one’s client to be tossed into a competency hearing without either counsel being present or there being a means to transcribe it, would be IAC.  For anyone one interested,  see, King, Candor, Zeal and the Substitution of Judgment: Ethics and the Mentally Ill Criminal Defendant, 58 Amer. Univ. L. Rev. 207 (2008) [It's on-line, but I couldn't get the link to work, sorry].
     
    I would say that in a capital case, it is the government here that is being (at best) short-sighted, if not outright dumb.  Sort of reminds me of the Officer Who Wouldn’t Shave case . . . .