Last week CAAF denied a petition for extraordinary relief filed by Master Sergeant Timothy Hennis (U.S. Army Ret.), who is one of only five military death row inmates (though a potential sixth – Witt – is pending a sentence rehearing):
No. 17-0099/AR. In Re Timothy B. Hennis. On consideration of the petition for extraordinary relief in the nature of a writ of mandamus or other appropriate writ, and Petitioner’s motion to stay proceedings of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals pending petition for extraordinary writ, it is ordered that said motion is hereby denied, and said petition is hereby denied without prejudice to raising the issues asserted during the course of normal appellate review.
The petition is available here and includes the assertion that:
the actions of the Judge Advocate General of the Army (Army JAG), Deputy Judge Advocate General (DJAG), and Chief Judges of the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (Army Court) create an appearance the deck is stacked against the petitioner during the ongoing review of his death sentence.
Pet. at 7.
Hennis was tried three times for the gruesome 1985 rape and murder of Kathryn Eastburn, the wife of an Air Force captain who was out of town on temporary duty, as well as the murder of their two daughters. The first two prosecutions were by state authorities in North Carolina. First, Hennis was convicted of the murders in 1986 and he was sentenced to death. The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed that conviction in 1988. Hennis was then retried by North Carolina in 1989, and he was acquitted. After the acquittal Hennis elected to remain in the military on the retired list and, in 2006, he was recalled to active duty and a general court-martial convicted him and sentenced him to death. The Army CCA affirmed the sentence two months ago. United States v. Hennis, 75 M.J. 796, No. 20100304 (A. Ct. Crim. App. Oct. 6, 2016) (en banc) (discussed here).