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Military Justice News for May 14, 2013

AP (via WaPo) reports (though the FBI already knew this), here, that Marine Corps Captain James Clement will face charges of dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer for failing to stop Marines that filmed themselves urinating on the corpses of insurgents in Afghanistan.

A military judge found SSGT John Russell guilty of pre-meditated murder yesterday, AP (via WaPo) coverage here and Tacome News-Tribune coverage here. Sentencing to determine whether Russell will be sentenced to life (with possibility of parole) or LWOP begins this week.

Judge to hear a dozen motions in BGEN Sinclair court-martial this week reports the Fayetteville Observer, here. The four day hearing features multiple UCI claims. Trial is currently scheduled for June 25, 2013.

Military Justice News for Apr. 15, 2013

The SGT John Russell murder trial begins some time this month. But the La Times reports, here, that, “this week,attorneys are negotiating a plea agreement that would take the death penalty off the table,but still allow the defense to argue that the Army’s mental health system drove Russell to commit the killings.” A court martial will hear some of the chilling facts outlined in the story:

“For the last two days I have been in hell,” Russell wrote in a May 6,2009,email to his wife. “I am left feeling so terrible you could just never know. These people are not good people,and I think that I am going a little crazy.”

Five days later,Russell seized a colleague’s Ford Explorer and M-16 rifle and returned to the clinic he’d left about an hour before. He fatally shot four mental health workers and patients before aiming his weapon over a filing cabinet at Sgt. Christian Bueno-Galdos,who was hiding behind it,prosecutors say.

“Oh,God,” Bueno-Galdos screamed as Russell laughed softly —an “evil chuckle,” one survivor called it —and then allegedly aimed a bullet through the sergeant’s right eyebrow

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Military Justice News for Mar. 4, 2013

Here is a Stars and Stripes piece on the now delayed SSGT John Russell court-martial with the victim’s family’s perspective.  Russell’s case was delayed a year when he was found incompetent to stand trial for the shooting deaths of fellow servicemembers outside a combat stress clinic in Iraq where he was being treated. Analysis of the PTSD issues by NIMJ’s own Prof. Gene Fidell. 

Extended commentary here on General John Allen’s resignation after a DoD IG investigation cleared him.

A review by the nation’s largest banks in connection with the housing crisis settlement they reached with federal regulators found hundreds of foreclosures violated the SSCRA:

When regulators forced them to take a close look at their loans,JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America,the largest loan servicers,each discovered about 200 military members whose homes were wrongfully foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010,according to the people with direct knowledge of the findings. Citigroup had at least 100 such foreclosures. The foreclosures violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,a federal law requiring banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty members.

Full Dealbook coverage here.

Military Justice News for Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012

SGT Russell Hearings Day 2
Reuters reports, here, that SGT John Russell’s defense expert testified yesterday that he was psychotic when he shot and killed five fellow servicemembers outside a combat stress clinic in Iraq. The military judge will determine which mental health evidence is admissible at Russell’s mid-March 2012 court-martial the report says.

Mixed Findings in PVT Chen Related Court- Martial
The Fayetteville Observer reports, here, that SSGT Andrew Van Bockel “was convicted late Tuesday of hazing [PVT Daniel Chen], a soldier who committed suicide while under his command in Afghanistan last year; being derelict in duty by allowing Chen to be hazed by others; and maltreating Chen by calling him by racially disparaging names and forcing him to speak Chinese instead of English.” Sentencing arguments are scheduled to begin at 8 am today.

Brits up in arms over SAS soldier’s sentence
Here and here are just a few reports about the review of a British SAS soldier’s court-martial for possession of a weapon in his home. 

Read more »

Military Justice News for Mar. 28, 2012

Bales Case – More on SSGT Bales and his family’s financial troubles, here (Seattle Times).  Maybe a theme at trial could be to blame the financial crisis?

Russell Fragging Case – SSGT John Russell court-martial continues to be bogged down in mental health of the accused issues.  This AP (via Yahoo News, here) report says that his lawyers have recently asked the military judge to order additional psychiatric care for the accused.  It also notes that, “A military judge recommended that Russell not face the death penalty for the charges. A final determination is pending with Army authorities [presumably the convening authority] at Lewis-McChord.”  Prior coverage of SSGT Russell’s charges in the shooting deaths of 5 US soldiers and a Navy officer here and here.

USS NEW YORK – This is just a feel good story from the Virginian-Pilot (here):

A Navy warship built with steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center left Norfolk on Tuesday on its maiden overseas deployment.

. . . .

Cmdr. Will Herrmann, commanding officer of the New York, is a native of Long Island – and nephew of a New York City firefighter. He said the ship represents everything the nation has overcome since the 9/11 attacks. Its bow incorporates more than 7 tons of steel taken from the rubble of the twin towers.

Tea Party Marine Ad Sep – Sgt. Gary Stein, the Marine political activist we discussed here, faces an ad sep board this Saturday morning, says the  San Diego Union Tribune, here.  Prior coverage of Stein’s Tea Party/Anti-Pres. Obama Facebook page here.

USS COLE Bomber Commission Hearing – Miami Herald coverage here of the upcoming testimony in the COLE bomber military commission hearing, which will likely be closed.  Carol Rosenburg reports that:

Defense lawyers write in a motion unsealed Monday that they’ll call Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 47, as a witness to describe the trauma of his CIA interrogations in their bid to win a court order that he be unshackled during prison camp meetings with his attorneys.

. . . .

Declassified abuse investigations show that, while Nashiri was shackled, CIA agents waterboarded him, racked a semi-automatic handgun near his head and used a power drill to frighten him in 2002 and 2003.

I-Law Geek Corner – And speaking of secrecy, this from the head of NSA and CYBERWAR Commander, from the Washington Post, here:

Cyberattacks on enemy computer systems should require presidential authority — and not be launched at the discretion of individual military commanders — the nation’s top cyberwarrior told Congress on Tuesday.

I-law geeks feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the comments about jus ad bellum, orange juice, and who’s got the juice.  The MilJus geeks will leave you alone.

Military Justice News for Aug. 12, 2011

According to the AP (via the Colorado Daily Sentinel, here) SGT John Russell’s attorneys argued that his mental condition at the time of the shootings in Iraq should make him ineligible for the death penalty as his Art. 32 hearing closed yesterday. According to the report, the defense claim that SGT Russell couldn’t premeditate was countered by government arguments that “whatever stress he faced, Russell remained coherent enough just before the shootings in May 2009 to reflect on his actions. ‘There’s no doubt that Sergeant Russell murdered five people,’ said one of the prosecuting attorneys, Capt. Patrick Scudieri. ‘He went down to the combat stress clinic, where he knew everyone in that clinic was unarmed.'”

NYT reports, here, that a New York state court ruled that it did not have the power to force the NY licensing body for psychologists to investigate a psychologist that allegedly assisted the USG in developing coercive interrogation tactics. The psychologist appears to have been a civilian, but one can see the potential implications for uniformed health professionals if the human rights group had been successful in forcing the board to investigate the claims.

Military Justice News for Aug. 10, 2011

The AP (via Forbes) reports, here, that SGT John Russell’s Article 32 hearing into the killing of 5 US servicemembers at a mental health clinic in Iraq is continuing today. The article features some chilling testimony about the events. The article notes that “[t]he killings triggered an investigation, resulting in a 325-page report that was critical of the way the military was handling mental health issues while soldiers were deployed.”

The San Antonio Express reports, here, that PFC Naser Abdo was indicted yesterday on charges of “possession of an unregistered destructive device, as well as possession of a firearm and ammunition by a fugitive from justice.”   For those living in a hole, the charges stem from an alleged plot to bomb a restaurant outside of Ft. Hood that is frequented by servicemebers.  Additional charges are likely. No hint the military will take the case. I guess the USAOs don’t defer to the military when it comes to terrorism-related charges.

And last, but not least, CAPT Owen Honors returns to the news. The Virginian-Pilot reports here:

Capt. Owen P. Honors made his first appearance Tuesday before a panel of admirals examining whether he should remain in the Navy. Among other evidence, Honors’ lawyer submitted hundreds of pages of statements from his supporters.

The three-member panel convened at Norfolk Naval Station to accept documentary evidence – the statements, investigation reports and a hard drive of videos – that it will review over the next two weeks.

The story mentions that CAPT Honors civilian attorney, Charlie Gittins, was not present but would make an appearance on Aug. 23.

H/t Defense News EB