In the military justice realm, we have two new developments in the Manning case and the conclusion of US v. Hatley.
PFC Bradley Manning has spent almost 900 days in Pre-Trial Confinement. His legal counsel, Jeffrey Coombs has filed his third Motion To Dismiss. This one is 117 pages long. PDF of the brief. I don’t know very much about the Uniform Code of Military Justice in regards to this kind of thing, but 900 days is excruciatingly ridiculous.
The other development is that the case Center for Constitutional Rights, et al. v. United States and Colonel Denise Lind, MJ, No. 12-8027/AR is set to be heard by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF.) COL Lind is the Military Judge who is presiding over the Manning Court Martial which is scheduled for February next year. The instant case refers to these third party news organizations and reporters, among them Jeremy Scahill, Amy Goodman, and Glenn Greenwald, as well as Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organization (styling themselves as a news organization) to be given, among other things including daily trial records, unfettered access to all of the evidence regardless of classification level, as well as any in camera proceedings called RCM 802 conferences in the UCMJ. One issue that news organizations have covering Courts-Martial is that the military does not produce daily trial records nor does it make exhibits and other materials available without a FOIA request, which can take a long time to go through the system. Judge Lind already ruled against this request, as did the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA). The case will be heard at CAAF in the first week of the new session beginning later this month. COL Lind was the Military Judge who presided over the Court Martial of Terry Lakin, the birther doctor who refused to deploy to Afghanistan.
The other military justice development of interest to Balloon-Juicers, US v. Hatley has concluded. You may remember the case of Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the young Soldier who wrote some articles for the New Republic in 2007 which were successfully mau-mau’ed by the right-wingers including Gun Counter Gomer (h/t TBogg) and his famous claim to have dis-proven Beauchamp’s version of one story through the use of a toy in a sand box. While this whole drama was playing out, several of the major players in it, among them the Company First Sergeant John Hatley and three other Soldiers of the unit murdered at least four known Iraqi men who may or may not have been insurgents but were definitely detainees for whom Hatley and his men bore responsibility to protect and care. All of the participants except Hatley plead guilty, and testified at his trial in 2009. Hatley was convicted of four specifications of Murder, and four specifications of Conspiracy to Commit Murder. During the “Shock Troops” episode, when he wasn’t murdering bound and gagged detainees in cold blood, Hatley was communicating with several conservative bloggers and from there his claims went to Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard (who later worked for the McCain for President campaign.) After his conviction, Hatley was sentenced to life in confinement without parole, but this was modified by the Army Clemency Board to 40 years without parole. The case was automatically appealed to the ACCA under Art. 66, UCMJ, which affirmed the conviction and sentence in toto. Hatley then appealed to CAAF, which denied review. Article 67, UCMJ forecloses certoriari appeal to SCOTUS if CAAF denies review, as it did here. Hatley’s cert request posed the question of whether or not Art. 67 UCMJ violates the Accused’s 5th Amendment right to due process, and additionally claimed judicial misconduct. SCOTUS denied cert without comment on October 1st. Hatley’s appeals are exhausted.