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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
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DaffyGrl
QUOTE
A military judge Wednesday threw out Pfc. Lynndie England's guilty plea to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, saying he was not convinced the Army reservist who appeared in some of the most notorious photos in the scandal knew her actions were wrong at the time.

The mistrial marks a stunning turn in the case and sends it back to square one.

The case will be reviewed again by Fort Hood's commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, who will decide what charges, if any, England should face. If she is charged, the case would go back to a military equivalent of a grand jury hearing, an Article 32 proceeding, prosecution spokesman Capt. Cullen Sheppard said. SF Chron


Did her "dim cap" defense work? (attorneys argued that she had "learning disabilities and was mentally slow")

Is England getting sympathy from the courts because of her pregnancy?

What are the chances that Pvt. England will not be charged for any of the abuse?



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ralou
Did her "dim cap" defense work? (attorneys argued that she had "learning disabilities and was mentally slow")

From what I've heard her defense attorney say, they're arguing more than that she is slow. They seem to be arguing she has antisocial personality disorder, or a version of it that is situational (NPR reported the attorney as saying she didn't know right from wrong in situations where others had a lot of authority over her). One look at her tells me she has something seriously wrong, and not the photos of her dragging prisoners on a leash. Her eyes are dull and stupid-mean, quite frankly. I don't think she could have passed a psychological, had she applied to any reputable police force in the nation. But the military took her. And put her in the worst possible situation. Did they choose soldiers like her because they would follow orders in situations like these? But that is the subject of another thread, I suppose.


Is England getting sympathy from the courts because of her pregnancy?

No, I don't think, based on what the judge said (as relayed via the media), that the judge has any sympathy for her. I think the judge is suspicious that England is taking the fall for higher ups and actually wants to do a legal, thorough job of trying the case. Which is, if true, commendable.

What are the chances that Pvt. England will not be charged for any of the abuse?

Zero. There is no way she will get out of this as far as charges and a trial, although her sentence might become a slap on the wrist, or might later be reduced, similar to Calley's pardoning after he served only six month's house arrest.

Azure-Citizen
Did her "dim cap" defense work? (attorneys argued that she had "learning disabilities and was mentally slow")

No. The mistrial in this case is a set back and an embarassment for both sides; they already had a plea bargain deal in place to fix guilt and move forward to deliberating the appropriate sentence for the remaining charges, with England set to receive the lesser sentence between that which had previously been agreed with the prosecution, and the sentence to be handed down by the miltary jury. Now they are back to square one, with the Judge admonishing the defense for already having admitted evidence that ran counter to England's plea on the conspiracy charge and one count of maltreating detainees. Both sides had argued for months over an acceptable plea bargain, with the government only recently softening its resolve to prosecute England fully on all counts. With the change in circumstances, it will probably be more difficult for England's lawyer to negotiate a new plea bargain. On the other hand, there is one significant upside to the events for England; because two of the nine charges against her were formally dismissed on Monday, they cannot be reintroduced going forward from here.

Although England is probably very frustrated by the complications, it is proper that the judge is doing his job and highlighting the inconsistency between England's guilty plea and the evidence offered by the defense that she believed what Charles Graner told her and was actually following his orders.

Is England getting sympathy from the courts because of her pregnancy?

I doubt it.

What are the chances that Pvt. England will not be charged for any of the abuse?

I think it is extremely unlikely that the government will decide against prosecution.
Aquilla
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 4 2005, 07:27 PM)
On the other hand, there is one significant upside to the events for England; because two of the nine charges against her were formally dismissed on Monday, they cannot be reintroduced going forward from here.


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Why is that, Azure Citizen? Is that a UCMJ thing or would that be the case even in a civilian trial?


Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Aquilla)
Why is that, Azure Citizen?  Is that a UCMJ thing or would that be the case even in a civilian trial?

As part of the bargain between the defense and the prosecution, at the start of the proceedings two of the counts were dismissed by the Judge with prejudice, meaning that the Government can not bring them back later; this isn't anything unique to the UCMJ, and happens in civilian courts just as often. The two counts at issue involved one charge of committing indecent acts (allowing another solider to photograph her performing a sexual act on Graner), and one charge of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent prisoner abuse.

Edited to add: Did anyone read the comment England made to Graner's ex-wife Staci Morris after the judge declared a mistrial in this article?

QUOTE(Yahoo News)
"He screws up everything, doesn't he?" a disappointed England told Morris about Graner after the judge ruled that trial would have to start from scratch in the future.
Aquilla
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 5 2005, 07:44 AM)
QUOTE(Aquilla)
Why is that, Azure Citizen?  Is that a UCMJ thing or would that be the case even in a civilian trial?

As part of the bargain between the defense and the prosecution, at the start of the proceedings two of the counts were dismissed by the Judge with prejudice, meaning that the Government can not bring them back later; this isn't anything unique to the UCMJ, and happens in civilian courts just as often. The two counts at issue involved one charge of committing indecent acts (allowing another solider to photograph her performing a sexual act on Graner), and one charge of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent prisoner abuse.

Edited to add: Did anyone read the comment England made to Graner's ex-wife Staci Morris after the judge declared a mistrial in this article?

QUOTE(Yahoo News)
"He screws up everything, doesn't he?" a disappointed England told Morris about Graner after the judge ruled that trial would have to start from scratch in the future.

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Thanks, Azure, I didn't know it had been a part of the plea agreement. It does seem somewhat strange however to me that they would execute a part of the plea agreement (dismissal of the two counts with prejudice) separately from executing the entire agreement. Seems to me that doing it all at once would preclude a problem like this.

In any case, I did read the article you cited and this Graner person sounds like a real piece of work to be sure! I guess I'm not sure what in the hell England's defense attorney was thinking by putting this guy on the stand. I don't see how it was in the best interest of his client to do that.
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Aquilla @ May 5 2005, 03:35 PM)
Thanks, Azure, I didn't know it had been a part of the plea agreement.  It does seem somewhat strange however to me that they would execute a part of the plea agreement (dismissal of the two counts with prejudice) separately from executing the entire agreement.  Seems to me that doing it all at once would preclude a problem like this.

It is problematic for the defense and prosecution in their maneuvering when dealing with a force they have no control over, the judge. In fact, a judge has the power to refuse to accept or allow a plea bargain entirely or tinker with the mechanics of whatever deals the prosecution and defense want to voluntarily enter into. The prosecution and defense are left trying to manage the proceedings as they progress, and in the present case it was appropriate for the two counts at issue to be dismissed at the same time that England was entering a guilty plea to the other seven.

However, I think that when the defense and prosecution return to the bargaining table, the prosecution isn't going to enter into any new "deals" without the defense acknowledging that the prosecution already dismissed those two counts, and demanding credit for it when assessing a new bargain acceptable to both sides.

QUOTE
In any case, I did read the article you cited and this Graner person sounds like a real piece of work to be sure!  I guess I'm not sure what in the hell England's defense attorney was thinking by putting this guy on the stand.  I don't see how it was in the best interest of his client to do that.

They probably thought there was more to gain by his appearance than to lose, and nobody (including the defense team, the defendant, and the prosecution) foresaw this little twist with Graner's testimony. At this point, they're all probably a little embarrassed, and have discovered they have a lot more work on their hands than they previously thought.
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