The Judge, COL Denise Lind announced to the parties that she would have the verdict today. It should be coming in around 2:00 PM Eastern time, but possibly sooner. Since PFC Manning has already plead guilty to several charges and specifications as lesser included offenses to the original charges and specifications, there will be a sentencing phase, which will occur immediately after the verdict is passed and the findings phase is concluded.
The sentencing phase will be essentially, another trial. The Trial Counsel will present a case for a certain maximal punishment, which will include the possibility of life without parole if the Aiding the Enemy spec is included. The Defense will present a case to minimize that potential punishment as much as possible. This will likely include a feature not found in civilian trials, the Unsworn Statement, in which the Accused will be allowed to address the Court, with assistance of Counsel and make a statement for the record that, because it is unsworn, is not subject to cross-examination or to penalty of perjury. The Judge will then retire to determine the sentence. Just for the charges to which he has plead guilty, PFC Manning faces a maximum of twenty years in confinement, Dishonorable Discharge, reduction to E-1, and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances. He will get sentence credit for each day he has spent in pre-trial confinement, as well as an additional 110 days sentencing credit for the unnecessarily harsh conditions in which he was kept for part of his time in the Quantico Brig.
In the event that his sentence exceeds one year or includes a punitive discharge, review by the Army Court of Criminal Appeals of the findings and the sentence is automatic under Article 66, UCMJ. This is another right that Civilians do not have, in addition to the rights of the Accused to petition the Convening Authority for clemency, under which the CA can also review findings and sentence. In both cases, the ACCA or the CA may, at their sole unreviewable discretion, set aside the findings or the sentence in whole or in part. In neither case can the sentence be increased beyond what the trial Judge issues. Additionally, the Army Clemency Review Board may reduce the sentence as they see fit, and this is also a nonreviewable decision. Assuming that PFC Manning appeals to the Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces, that court may also review the record and make findings with respect to findings and sentence of the Court-Martial, and may reduce or obviate the sentence as they see fit. If CAAF reviews, then that opens the door to SCOTUS review. If CAAF does not review the case, then SCOTUS does not have appellate jurisdiction, and SCOTUS has never reviewed the law (Art. 67-a, UCMJ) that limits their jurisdiction here. Every single challenge to the constitutionality of Art. 67-a has been refused hearing by SCOTUS. The information contained in this paragraph however, refers to events which are two to five years away from today.
Also too, Open Thread
UPDATE: MANNING NOT GUILTY OF AIDING THE ENEMY. Tweeted by @kgosztola, @NathanLFuller
NBCNews.com reports that the Judge found him “guilty of two other charges.” update–Guilty of all other charges including theft of government property, and espionage. That last one is included in military law under a UCMJ provision that makes violating federal criminal statues a criminal act under the UCMJ. It could carry a possible life sentence. The Sentencing phase will begin immediately–like, after a short recess. This is not like civilian criminal court where there’s a break of several days to weeks.
UPDATE: Sentencing phase of the Court-Martial will begin tomorrow morning at 0930hrs, Eastern. PFC Manning faces a maximum sentence of 136 years in confinement, reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and dishonorable discharge from the Army.