After now bouncing around the Mil Jus system for nearly 30 years, the sentence of Private Dwight Loving was today commuted to life without the possibility of parole. See Military Times coverage here. H/t OFL

11 Responses to “More MilJus Commutations – Loving Receives LWOP”

  1. Zachary D Spilman says:

    Loving was one of only five current military death row inmates (Gray, Loving, Akbar, Hennis, and Hasan; Witt is pending a sentence rehearing).

    Military Death Row was our #2 Military Justice Story of 2016.

  2. Mary Hall says:

    BZ to Teresa Norris, who has represented Dwight Loving for 23+ years.  Teresa commenced her representation while she was at Army DAD and continued it pro bono once she left active duty.  I know of no one in our bar who has worked more zealously for a client than Teresa has for Dwight Loving. 

  3. stewie says:

    Pretty stunning turn of events there. Wonder why he did Loving but not Gray or Akbar?  I have some knowledge of all three cases, and nothing jumps out to me that would make Loving more worthy of commutation vice the other two (nor am I suggesting he’s LESS worthy).

  4. Fmr DADite says:

    The hook in Loving could be the fact the panel voted twice for death and first vote was not unanimous and then the panel president pressured/call for a re-vote. CAAF noted the same, but also noted it could not fix due to RCM dictates. That is the sort of thing which moves the needle on a pardon, perhaps.

  5. stewie says:

    Maybe, but each case has “hooks.” Akbar’s panel also voted to reconsider (no idea if the first vote was unanimous), had Ring/Apprendi problems, and mental health issues.  Gray IIRC had some significant issues as well but my knowledge of that one is significantly less than my knowledge of Akbar and Loving.
     
    Again, not suggesting Loving is less deserving or even undeserving, just that I’m curious as to why he got clemency while the other two did not. Of course, no one cares about my curiosity and we won’t ever know why.

  6. David Bargatze says:

    Perhaps Loving was the only one of the three to submit a commutation petition to DoJ.

  7. stewie says:

    Maybe, the other two don’t appear on the list of those denied clemency, although I don’t know that they weren’t submitted prior years or times, this is just the latest in an ongoing series of requests.
     
     

  8. stewie says:

    well never mind:
    https://www.justice.gov/pardon/obama-denials/commutations-denied-president-barack-obama
     
    Looks like neither ever applied for one, but Loving did.

  9. Dew_Process says:

    Gray’s case is floating in the penumbra of federal habeas corpus, although I’m not quite sure where it’s at.  The USDC had originally denied habeas relief, but he petitioned for reconsideration and I don’t know if that’s been decided or not.
     
    It’s hard to believe, but I worked on Gray 17 years ago.  There were many good issues in the case, but Gray challenged the fact that he did not have a 12 person panel in a case that was referred as capital. The government opposed that on the basis that the court-martial proceedings shouldn’t be “delayed” while additional members were found and detailed and the MJ sided with the government. So the issue was raised under both Due Process and Equal Protection grounds and preserved.  Gray was convicted and sentenced to death by a six person panel — based upon the objections of the Trial Counsel.

  10. Babu says:

    I once filed a presidential commutation request for a client.  The response I got back from the Office of the Pardon Attorney was that, per policy, military convicts were not eligible for commutation until completion of appellate review and discharge, and until then the SecNav had commutation authority.

  11. stewie says:

    But aren’t Akbar, Gray, and Loving more or less complete with appellate review? None of them have completed habeas review, but Gray was the farthest down that line.  I would think if Loving was eligible for commutation, Gray and Akbar would be too.