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Military Capital Punishment News - Page 2
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  1. #11
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Military Judge Denies Request To Delay Sept. 11 Case At Guantanamo

    A request for a delay in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo has been denied.

    Two lawyers close to the proceedings tell NPR that a military judge denied their request to delay the arraignment of the Sept. 11 suspects at Guantanamo until the summer.

    The lawyers were asking for more time to file memos on why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators should not be tried in a capital case and be eligible for the death penalty. The 911 suspects are expected to be arraigned before a military commission as early as April.


  2. #12
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    Oct 2010
    Military death penalty cases face many hurdles

    The complicated nature of the military justice system all but guarantees that if Maj. Nidal Hasan is sentenced to die, he likely would not be executed for decades.

    Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter, faces more murder charges than any other soldier currently on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

    And the evidence against him is fairly overwhelming. Even Hasan's former defense attorney John Galligan said the case is "clear cut," against Hasan.

    However, the armed forces have not executed a soldier since Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered U.S. Army Pvt. John A. Bennett hanged in 1961 after the soldier was convicted of rape and attempted murder.

    Executions have been prolonged due to rules guaranteeing soldiers sentenced to death several avenues for appeal that are automatic and mandatory.

    "Even in the case of someone who wants to expedite their death sentence, you're still looking at years and years," said Dwight Sullivan, a civilian appellate counsel for the Air Force who has authored several studies on the death penalty and the armed forces.

    Through those appeals, 60 percent of all soldiers sentenced to death at court-martials since 1984 have had their sentences commuted to life in prison, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

    The process is further complicated by political motivations. The president must authorize every execution, making partisan politics and policy a factor in a soldier's fate.

    The case law for military courts also can be affected by state rulings and the Supreme Court, Sullivan said.

    "There's also some lack of urgency," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a politically independent nonprofit. "The military executing its own, given the concern for the terrors of war, PTSD and all that people have dealt with may be influencing the fact that there hasn't been as many executions."

    Because of this, six men remain on death row at Fort Leavenworth with no realistic execution date in sight. One of them, Dwight J. Loving, killed two men in Killeen in December 1988.

    Appeals process

    Military courts are different than civilian courts regarding death penalty cases for several reasons.

    In military cases, defendants cannot plead guilty if a convening authority has authorized the death penalty as a possible punishment. The accused also cannot have a trial by judge only.

    If convicted and sentenced to die, an Army court-martial is automatically appealed and eventually reviewed by the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, said Sullivan.

    If the court affirms the judgment and sentence of the original court-martial, the mandatory appeal is then made to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which has jurisdiction over all branches of the military.

    A death sentence upheld by that court can then be appealed to the Supreme Court, though it is not mandatory.

    Sullivan said he analyzed the military appeals process a few years ago and determined that the average death penalty case takes 7.5 years to complete a military review. "Now it is longer," he said.

    More challenges

    Only when the sentence clears those hurdles can the president authorize an execution. But even with the president's signature, the execution of a soldier still faces challenges.

    The last president to order an execution was George W. Bush, who signed an order for the execution of former Fort Bragg, N.C., Spc. Ronald A. Gray on July 28, 2008.

    A court-martial convicted Gray of abducting, raping, sodomizing and murdering Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, 18. He also was charged with attempting to rape and murder a 20-year-old private and with the rape and murder of a civilian, Kimberly Ann Ruggles, 23.

    A court-martial in 1989 sentenced him to death on 14 charges, including the premeditated murders, the attempted murder and three counts of rape.

    However, Gray remains alive.

    A judge in Indiana issued a stay to Gray's execution after he filed an appeal in state court.

    Dwight J. Loving

    On Dec. 12, 1988, Pfc. Dwight J. Loving, then 20, went on a crime spree in Killeen.

    Before the end of the night, the soldier robbed two convenience stores, shot and killed two taxi drivers and would have killed a third, but was thwarted.

    He killed Pvt. Christopher Fay, an active-duty soldier who drove a taxi to earn extra money, and retired Sgt. Bobby Sharbino.

    Police apprehended Loving the following day, and the soldier gave an undisputed videotaped confession to the murders.

    The Army charged Loving with two counts of premeditated murder, and in 1989 he was sentenced to death. Loving's case made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

    His lawyers challenged the legality of an order by President Ronald Reagan that set aggravating factors in the rules for courts-martial in 1984.

    Reagan's order was in response to an earlier Supreme Court case that overturned the death penalty sentence of another soldier.

    Loving's lawyers argued that only Congress could make changes the United States Code of Military Justice. In 1996, the high court ruled against him.

    "He's still on death row after 23 years," Galligan said. "If his case were to take as long, Nidal Hasan could be in his late 60s, and he might die (of natural causes) before that."

    Though there is a mountain of evidence against Hasan, Galligan said he does not believe the 41-year-old major will be executed.

    "The death penalty would make him a martyr in the eyes of many," he said.

    On death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
    Ronald Gray • Sentenced 1988
    Gray was a specialist at Fort Bragg, N.C., when he raped and murdered two women. He attempted to rape a third. He was convicted of 14 charges including premeditated murder, attempted murder and three counts of rape.

    Dwight J. Loving • Sentenced 1989
    Loving robbed and killed two taxi drivers in Killeen while stationed at Fort Hood. The private confessed to the killings and was convicted of two counts of premeditated murder.

    Kenneth Parker • Sentenced 1995
    Parker, a former Marine lance corporal at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was convicted of two counts of premeditated murder, one count each of armed robbery and kidnapping. He murdered two lance corporals in nearby Jacksonville.

    Hasan Akbar • Sentenced 2005
    On March 23, 2003, while deployed at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait, during the invasion of Iraq, Akbar detonated a hand grenade at the base and shot soldiers, killing two and wounding 14. He was convicted of two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder.

    Andrew Witt • Sentenced 2005
    Witt, a senior airman with the Air Force, stabbed his wife and another airman to death while stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. He also seriously injured a staff sergeant. He was convicted of two counts of premeditated murder and one count of attempted premeditated murder.

    Timothy Hennis • Sentenced 2010
    Hennis was tried in a North Carolina state court and acquitted of the 1986 murder of a woman and her two children. However, DNA evidence led to his re-trial in military court, despite the previous not guilty verdict. Military courts are a separate jurisdiction, allowing for a re-trial.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  3. #13
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Military isn't quick to kill its killers

    By Adam Ashton
    The News Tribune

    Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originally published last June.

    TACOMA, Wash. — The cases of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and another soldier court-martialed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this year add to the U.S. military's track record of reluctance to use the death penalty on defendants whose crimes were committed in a combat zone.

    Sgt. John Russell pleaded guilty to killing five U.S. servicemembers at a mental health clinic in Iraq's Camp Liberty three years ago. The death penalty was on the table, even though a judge recommended the Army withdraw that punishment because of Russell's well-documented, deteriorating psychological condition during his third deployment to Iraq.

    In the end, Russell received life without parole.

    Likewise, Bales started as a capital case that now apparently has ended in a plea deal. Bales, formerly of Lake Tapps, is accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians the night of March 11, 2012. He'd been stationed at the local base for a decade and was on his fourth combat tour.

    History suggests the Army is unlikely to carry out an execution even when it wins convictions. Its last execution took place in 1961. McClatchy Newspapers last year reported that 10 of the 16 servicemembers sentenced to death since 1984 had their punishments overturned.

    "We don't fall all over ourselves in general to execute our own people, " said Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale University.

    "It's been over 50 years now since we've executed a U.S. soldier and there have been plenty of death sentences, but juries and the appellate courts and the reviewing authorities including presidents do not have itchy fingers when it comes to the death penalty, " Fidell said.

    Today, five men are on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

    Their crimes resemble the charges against Russell more so than the Army's case against Bales: All five are there for killing other Americans, not for crimes committed against foreign noncombatants.

    However, only one of the five committed his crimes while deployed overseas.

    Soldiers who murder civilians in war zones are more likely to face a life sentence as their most serious punishment.

    For instance, the Army did not pursue a death sentence against any of the four Lewis-McChord soldiers who were convicted in 2011 in connection with the murders of three Afghan civilians in 2010. The ringleader of this so-called "kill team, " former Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, received a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

    Another convicted war criminal, former Pfc. Steven Dale Green, received a life sentence without parole for raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, then leading a group of soldiers in killing her family in 2006.

    "History and experience would seem to indicate that (court-martial) convening authorities will more readily send a case to trial as a death penalty case if the victims are Americans than they would if the victims are civilian noncombatants, " said Gary D. Solis, who teaches military law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

    The factors weighing on that decision include the "fog of war" argument: The American public and combat commanders understand that civilians die in every conflict because of accidents and split-second judgment calls. Solis noticed a similar trend during the Vietnam War, when reprehensible crimes against Vietnamese civilians did not result in equally serious punishment. The My Lai massacre is the most famous example. Then-Lt. William Calley, who was convicted of killing 22 civilians, served a three-year sentence on house arrest.

    Solis, a former Marine officer, wrote a book about the massacre of 16 Vietnamese women and children at the village of Son Thang in 1970 by a five-man Marine patrol. The ringleader, former Lance Cpl. Randall Herrod, was acquitted.

    Solis said the pattern could change if prosecutors believe they can demonstrate that servicemembers in situations like Bales' deliberately planned homicides, Solis said.

    The Army alleges Bales intentionally murdered the 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children, in two villages after he sneaked out of a Special Forces outpost in the southern province of Kandahar.

    "Given the nature of the deployments and some of the background information we are discovering, he should not face the death penalty, " Emma Scanlan, one of Bales' defense attorneys, said last year. "That's not an appropriate possible punishment for him."

    Lead defense attorney John Henry Browne has criticized the Army's case as deficient in physical evidence. In past interviews, he has suggested that Bales was experiencing post-traumatic stress and possibly the effects of mood-altering steroids.

    Russell's case diverges from Bales' because the victims wore U.S. military uniforms. But advocates for the soldier from Sherman, Texas, insist his circumstances are different than those of the five servicemembers on death row.

    Russell's attorney argued that behavioral health specialists in Iraq mistreated Russell when he turned to them for help, once dressing him down and another time making light of his distress.

    At the time, Russell was serving with a Germany-based combat engineer unit that was attached to a Lewis*-*McChord brigade. He was not stationed at *Lewis-*McChord at any time, and was only prosecuted here because his chain of command is based here.

    Russell's unit sent him to a clinic on May 8, 2009, following six days of mood swings and paranoia. At the clinic, a major chose to make an example of Russell in front of a captain whom she regarded as too soft with patients, according to legal documents.

    The captain remembered Russell's first visit to the clinic as "aggressive and hostile" because of the major's tough questioning, according to court testimony quoted in case documents.

    Russell's follow-up visits to the clinic became even more argumentative. His condition worsened noticeably to the soldiers in his unit on May 10.

    "He felt that everyone had lost hope in him and no one wanted him around, " remembered Lt. David Vasquez in a sworn statement.

    On May 11, Russell stormed out of a meeting with another counselor, Lt. Col. Michael Jones. Russell did not believe Jones was willing to help him.

    Later that day, Russell returned to the clinic and killed a Navy commander and four soldiers.

    Army Judge Col. James Pohl wrote that Russell's trial should not be a capital case. Rather, Pohl in September 2011 wrote that Russell's "undisputed mental disease or defect makes the death penalty inappropriate in this case."

    Pohl is the same officer who recommended that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan face the death penalty for killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

    Defense attorney James Culp correctly predicted that a military panel would not sentence Russell to death.

    "Do we kill some who is suffering from two severe mental defects when he snaps and does something in a combat zone? I think the answer is no, " Culp said.


  4. #14
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Military death row: More than 50 years and no executions

    Ronald Gray raped and battered at least seven women. He killed four, and left the others for dead -- the bodies dumped around Fort Bragg and the neighboring city of Fayetteville, North Carolina, between 1986 and 1987.

    He was caught and, just as in the civilian system, he was tried.

    He was found guilty by a jury of his peers, just as in the civilian system.

    And a death sentence was passed, just as would have been possible in a civilian court for such a heinous crime.

    But when it comes to staying alive, history is on Gray's side. The U.S. military has not executed one of its own since 1961.

    The former soldier came close to being put to death in 2008, when then President George W. Bush signed a warrant authorizing Gray's execution -- a requirement for capital punishment in the military.

    A federal court gave Gray a last-minute temporary stay, and today he -- along with four other former servicemen -- remains on the military's death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    Army Maj. Nidal Hasan may become the next resident of the military's death row, if he is convicted for the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and sentenced to death. Opening statements in the murder trial are scheduled to begin August 6.

    Legal issues, including whether cases were handled appropriately, have affected some cases, analysts say.

    But a larger part of the equation appears to be the sometimes cloistered military culture, from a commanding general who can override a jury's verdict to the routine military reshuffling of personnel, including prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses, every two or three years.

    "The military is a community of solidarity, a brotherhood and sisterhood, all to its own," defense lawyer Teresa Norris said. "There is a real reluctance to execute fellow soldiers unless it's absolutely the worst kind of case and this is the only way."

    There is little disagreement by the Army that the death penalty is used only in extreme cases. But that doesn't mean it won't mete out or carry out the punishment, it says.

    "Adherence to the law, due process, and respect for the rights of someone accused of crime, combined with respect for civilian oversight of the military justice system, should not be mistaken for an unwillingness to execute the law," said Army Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, deputy chief of public affairs.

    'The Castle'

    Norris represents former Army Pfc. Dwight Loving, sentenced to death in 1989 when he was 21 years old for robbing and murdering two cab drivers -- a retired sergeant and a soldier moonlighting to earn extra money -- at Fort Hood, Texas.

    Sent to an intimidating prison with a brick faade at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Loving for a time was expected to be the first person the military put to death in decades.

    Military officers and other important types were shown where he was kept in the stark prison known as "the Castle," reserved for the worst of the worst and the inspiration for a book and later a movie, "The Last Castle," starring Robert Redford as a court-martialed general.

    They were told, Norris says, that Loving would soon be executed.

    That was 1992.

    Today, "the Castle" has been rendered obsolete, and Loving is awaiting execution in a new, state-of-the-art military prison.

    "Me and my client were essentially expecting an execution within 18 months, and here we are all these years later," said Norris, who represented Loving as a military defense attorney and now as a civilian.

    Executing troops

    The U.S. military has executed 135 men since 1916 -- considered the start of the era of the modern fighting force -- for crimes ranging from murder to rape, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.

    Only 10 of these executions have taken place since 1951. The U.S. military carried out its last execution on April 13, 1961, with the hanging of Army Pvt. John A. Bennett, who was convicted in 1955 of the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl.

    A number of death sentences were converted to life sentences in 1983 when a military appeals court found the death penalty was unconstitutional because of problems with the armed forces' sentencing guidelines.

    A year later, President Ronald Reagan reinstated capital punishment in the military. Of the 16 people sent to the military's death row since 1984, 11 have had their sentences overturned. Two of those decisions were taken by commanding generals. The other nine cases were overturned by military appeals courts over various questions about the application of law.

    Unlike in civilian courts where prosecutors decide charges, a commanding general -- who has other duties -- decides whether a military defendant will face the death penalty. That general also can reduce a sentence.

    It's one of the biggest differences with the civilian system and it leads to one of the major criticisms of the decentralized nature of the military judicial system, where each branch operates independently.

    "Even if you have two identical cases, one being prosecuted by one commander at one base and other being prosecuted by a commander at another base, you may have different outcomes because the commanders may have different philosophies," said Dwight Sullivan, a former Marine prosecutor and judge who now works as a civilian attorney specializing in military death penalty appeals.

    Such was the case with Curtis Allen Gibbs, a Marine who was sentenced to death in 1990 for killing and nearly decapitating a woman with a sword near Camp Lejeune.

    A jury returned a sentence of death for Gibbs, but a commanding general overturned the decision and gave him life. At the time, the general cited a reluctance to authorize the execution of a service member during a military conflict -- the Persian Gulf War, according to published accounts.

    "He didn't want to impose the death penalty, and it struck me as strange because the jury had heard and evaluated all the evidence and decided that's what he should get," said Guy Womack, a retired Marine prosecutor who helmed the Gibbs case.

    As a result, Womack believes the problem lies not with military juries but rather with what follows: the commanding general and the appeals process.

    Once the death penalty has been handed down, an appeal is automatic and eventually reviewed by the military's top court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces -- even if the service member doesn't want it.

    "It's a very slow process, and I don't think they like the idea of confirming the death penalty," said Womack, who now works as a civilian attorney who specializes in defending military clients.

    Today, the death sentences of all five men on the military's death row are either on appeal or under legal review.

    "The process by which legal matters in the military are adjudicated are taken extraordinarily seriously by a professional panel of peers that weigh all matters and due consideration at their due course," said Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman.

    Fewer cases

    If the Gulf War affected the Gibbs case, it may also have had a wider impact.

    The 1990-1991 conflict was the first major deployment of U.S. troops since Vietnam and may have made the military switch its focus, says Catherine Grosso, who co-authored a study that examined the military death penalty system.

    She found fewer death penalty cases brought by the military in recent decades.

    "The important break point in the study is 1990," she said.

    Grosso did not come to conclusions for why this happened in her study, which addressed racial questions.

    But she told CNN that while legal changes in 1997 could have played a role by adding the option of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, it doesn't explain the drop in death penalty prosecutions before 1997.

    That's where the buildup to and fighting of the Gulf War, from 1990-1991 may have played a role.

    "Maybe that made the military focus in a different way," she said.

    But Eugene Fidell, a former judge advocate who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, said there is "insufficient data to draw a broad conclusion."

    "Anyone who commits multiple murders is a viable candidate for a capital prosecution, regardless of the setting," he said. "The more victims, the likelier."

    Present day

    Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty last month to avoid the death penalty for killing 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar in March 2012.

    Most legal experts agree the case against Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of opening fire in 2009 at a deployment center at Fort Hood, will be tough to overcome -- given the evidence.

    "This is broad daylight, multiple assaults before witnesses on a base," Fidell said. "As capital cases go, this is an easy one."

    But whether a jury hands down a death sentence remains to be seen.

    And whether any death sentence is carried out is even more at question.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  5. #15
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    Fort Hood and the rarity of military executions

    DALLAS (AP) -- Hundreds of unarmed soldiers, some about to deploy to Afghanistan, were waiting inside a building for vaccines and routine checkups when a fellow soldier walked inside with two handguns and enough ammunition to commit one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

    Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan climbed onto a desk and shouted "Allahu Akbar!" - an Arabic phrase meaning "God is great!" Then he fired, pausing only to reload.

    Hasan doesn't deny that he carried out the November 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 people dead and more than 30 others wounded. There are dozens of witnesses who saw it happen. Military law prohibits him from entering a guilty plea because authorities are seeking the death penalty. But if he is convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that starts Tuesday, there are likely years, if not decades, of appeals ahead.

    He may never make it to the death chamber at all.

    While the Hasan case is unusually complex, experts also say the military justice system is unaccustomed to dealing with death penalty cases and has struggled to avoid overturned sentences.

    Eleven of the 16 death sentences handed down by military juries in the last 30 years have been overturned, according to an academic study and court records. No active-duty soldier has been executed since 1961.

    A reversed verdict or sentence on appeal in the Hasan case would be a fiasco for prosecutors and the Army. That's one reason why prosecutors and the military judge have been deliberate leading up to trial, said Geoffrey Corn, a professor at the South Texas College of Law and former military lawyer.

    "The public looks and says, `This is an obviously guilty defendant. What's so hard about this?'" Corn said. "What seems so simple is in fact relatively complicated."

    Hasan is charged with 13 specifications of premeditated murder and 32 specifications of attempted premeditated murder. Thirteen officers from around the country who hold Hasan's rank or higher will serve on the jury for a trial that will likely last one month and probably longer. They must be unanimous to convict Hasan of murder and sentence him to death. Three-quarters of the panel must vote for an attempted murder conviction.

    The jury will likely hear from victims and relatives of the dead. A handful of victims still carry bullet fragments in their body. Others have nightmares.

    "It never goes away - being upset that it's taken so long for this trial to come," said Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot in the head, stomach and upper body. "So now's the day of reckoning, which is positive - very positive."

    The trial's start has been delayed over and over, often due to requests from Hasan. Any of the hundreds of decisions large or small could be fair game on appeal. The entire record will be scrutinized by military appeals courts that have overturned most of the death sentences they've considered.

    "A good prosecutor, in military parlance, would be foolish to fight only the close battle," Corn said. "He's got to fight the close battle and the future battle. And the future battle is the appellate record."

    Hasan has twice dismissed his lawyers and now plans to represent himself at trial. He's suggested he wants to argue the killings were in "defense of others" - namely, members of the Taliban fighting Americans in Afghanistan. The trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, has so far denied that strategy.

    Hasan has grown a beard while in custody that he says expresses his Muslim faith, but violates military rules on decorum. After a military judge ordered him forcibly shaved, an appeals court stayed that order and took another judge off the case.

    The last man executed in the military system was Pvt. John Bennett, hanged in 1961 for raping an 11-year-old girl. Five men are on the military death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but none are close to being executed.

    An inmate was taken off death row just last year. Kenneth Parker was condemned for killing two fellow Marines in North Carolina, including Lance Cpl. Rodney Page. But Parker was given life without parole last September by an appeals court. The court found his trial judge should have not allowed him to be tried for both murders at the same time, nor should the judge have allowed testimony that the appeals court said was irrelevant to the crimes.

    Parker's accomplice in the killings, Wade Walker, was also sentenced to death, only for the sentence to be overturned.

    Examples abound of other death sentences set aside. They include William Kreutzer Jr., who killed one soldier and wounded 18 others in a 1995 shooting spree at Fort Bragg, N.C.; James T. Murphy, who killed his wife in Germany by smashing her head with a hammer; and Melvin Turner, who killed his 11-month-old daughter with a razor blade.

    Part of the problem, experts say, is that death penalty cases are rare in military courts.

    A study in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology identified just 41 cases between 1984 and 2005 where a defendant faced a court-martial on a capital charge. Meanwhile, more than 500 people have been executed since 1982 in the civilian system in Texas, the nation's most active death-penalty state.

    While lawyers and judges in Texas may get multiple death penalty cases a year, many military judges and lawyers often are on their first, said Victor Hansen, another former prosecutor who now teaches at the New England School of Law. The military courts that are required to review each death-penalty verdict are also more cautious and likely to pinpoint possible errors that might pass muster at a civilian court, Hansen and Corn said.

    Hansen compared the military's conundrum to small states that have a death-penalty law on the books, but never use it.

    "You don't have a lot of experience or institutional knowledge," said Hansen, who compared it to "the reinventing of the wheel every time one is done."

    If Hasan is convicted and sentenced to death, his case will automatically go before appeals courts for the Army and the armed forces. If those courts affirm the sentence, he could ask the Supreme Court for a review or file motions in federal civilian courts.

    The president, as the military commander in chief, must sign off on a death sentence.

    "If history is any guide, it's going to be a long, long, long time," Hansen said.


  6. #16
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Trump Officials Reconsider Prosecuting ISIS Beatles Without Death Penalty

    American military officials in Iraq want 2 detainees taken off their hands and a British court has blocked sharing evidence for any death-penalty case. But other options are also getting a 2nd look.

    The Trump administration is trying again to find a way to resolve the cases of 2 British Islamic State detainees who are notorious for their roles in the torture and killing of Western hostages, and who have been held in indefinite wartime detention by the American military in Iraq since October, according to officials.

    One option under renewed consideration is for the Justice Department to drop its insistence that prosecutors be free to bring capital charges against the men, half of a cell of Britons called the Beatles by their captives because of their accents.

    Since the men were captured in early 2018, when Jeff Sessions was attorney general, the Justice Department has insisted that it be free to seek their execution. But at an interagency National Security Council meeting this week, Attorney General William P. Barr did not rule out dropping that stance, officials said.

    A chief obstacle to bringing the men to trial has been a need for evidence held by the British government. Britain has abolished the death penalty and a British court has blocked it from cooperating in capital charges. Litigation is slowly continuing, but assurances that American prosecutors would not seek the death penalty could swiftly make the evidence available.

    Mr. Barrs indication that he is at least willing to consider changing the departments position was first reported by The Washington Post, and an official familiar with internal deliberations confirmed it.

    But several officials stressed that this did not amount to a final policy decision, and was just one of several previously rejected options now being reconsidered.

    Attorney General William P. Barr has not ruled out dropping the Justice Departments past requirement that it be free to seek execution of the two Islamic State fighters.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

    Other potential resolutions that are being reopened for discussion, they said, include transferring custody of the men to the Iraqi government for prosecution; taking them to the American military prison at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, for continued wartime detention without trial; and revisiting whether the British evidence is truly crucial or whether prosecutors might be able to mount a capital trial without it.

    But since all of the other options bring their own problems and complexities, the Justice Departments willingness to discuss the idea of seeking life in prison instead of death was seen internally as potentially significant.

    The families of 4 of their American victims have long said it would be a mistake to send the detainees to Guantnamo Bay or to seek the death penalty, and instead have advocated seeking justice in a way that would not make the men into martyrs.

    Representatives for the National Security Council and the Justice Department declined to comment. The officials familiar with internal deliberations spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    The meeting was scheduled shortly after the four families published a column in The Post last week reiterating their call for the department to move forward with prosecuting the men, expressing worries that they could escape justice and restating their opposition to continuing to hold them in long-term detention without trial.

    We implore the Trump administration: Please, for the sake of truth, for the sake of justice, order these Islamic State suspects transferred to the United States to face trial, they wrote.

    The 2 men, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were part of a cell whose gruesome hostage beheadings for Islamic State propaganda videos drew widespread attention in 2014. Among their victims was James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded that August.

    Another member of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, or Jihadi John, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley. Mr. Emwazi was later killed in a drone strike. A fourth man, Aine Davis, has been imprisoned in Turkey on terrorism charges.

    Mr. Kotey and Mr. Elsheikh were captured in Syria by a Kurdish militia, which held them there with numerous other Islamic State detainees from Western countries that have refused to take back their citizens. The British government moved to strip them of citizenship and made clear it did not want to take them back.

    In part because Britain was not moving to solve the problem created by its own citizens, the Trump administration was not willing to nod to its legal system by offering an assurance that American prosecutors, if they handled it, would not seek to impose the death penalty, which remains legal in the United States.

    After initial reluctance, the British government moved to share the evidence without such assurances, and showed witness statements and other material it had gathered about the two men to the Justice Department. But testimony from British government officials would also probably be necessary at any trial to make the evidence admissible.

    To block continued cooperation, Mr. Elsheikhs mother filed a lawsuit, and won an initial ruling in March.

    In the meantime, in October, the Turkish military moved into northern Syria against the American-backed Kurds after getting a green light from President Trump, calling into question the militias ability to continue securely holding some 11,000 captured Islamic State fighters.

    The American military took custody of Mr. Kotey and Mr. Elsheikh and took them to Iraq to ensure they would remain locked up. But since then it has grown increasingly impatient to hand them off.

    (source: New York Times)
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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