Monday, July 09, 2012

A National Disgrace

"There is something horribly wrong in America when a soldier is jailed for killing the enemy." -Pamela Geller

That's exactly what has happened to 1st Lt. Michael Behenna. Behenna was an Army Ranger now serving a 15-year sentence after being found guilty of unpremeditated murder in the shooting death of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda operative.

Michael Behenna Loses Final Military Appeal, by Bob McCarty

"Short of a presidential pardon or Supreme Court decision in his favor, which isn’t likely in this day and age, it appears Army Ranger 1LT Michael C. Behenna will remain behind bars at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., until he turns 40 years old. The Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., has upheld the 29-year-old Edmond, Okla., native’s conviction stemming from a May 16, 2008, shooting in Iraq."

The majority opinion:

We granted review in this case to determine whether the military judge provided complete and accurate self-defense instructions, and whether the Government failed to disclose favorable and material information to Appellant’s prejudice. We hold that, although the military judge’s instruction on escalation was erroneous, it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because escalation was not in issue. Moreover, contrary to Appellant’s arguments, withdrawal also was not in issue. We further hold that, even assuming that the information Appellant asserts the Government failed to disclose was favorable, it was immaterial in regard to findings and sentencing because the evidence substantially overlapped with other evidence presented by other defense experts, Appellant was not entitled to an escalation instruction, and the members clearly rejected the Government’s theory of premeditated murder. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA).

The dissenting opinion:

A death occurred in the theater of operations. A soldier has been convicted of murder. Was it murder or self-defense? By law, the responsibility for making that factual determination rested with the court-martial panel, not with this Court. The ambiguous, confusing, and incorrect instructions from the military judge deprived Appellant of the right to have a panel of officers make that decision. The military judge compounded that error by failing to take corrective action with respect to the Government’s failure to provide timely disclosure of exculpatory evidence. This Court should reverse the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals and authorize a rehearing.

Atlas Shrugs has more

You can read more about the case HERE and HERE.

Not making light of this horrific situation, but I can't help but thinking that this is where a show like Undercover Boss would really come in handy. Obama could go undercover in the USMC or the Army to see first hand how new ROEs effect the boots on the ground. He could experience the confusion of being given orders and then being jailed when he followed through on those orders... It would be the most eye-opening episode to date.

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