Army Prosecutors Hide The Ball – Again!

U.S. Soldier’s Lawyer Says Access Denied to Evidence

By and
Published: March 3. 2012
 The lawyer representing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier charged with 17 counts of murder in the deaths of Afghan civilians this month, said that military prosecutors had denied members of his legal team access to witnesses at a Kandahar hospital, as well as to investigative files, medical records and surveillance video.

“We were expecting a lot more cooperation,” Sergeant Bales’s lead lawyer, John Henry Browne, said during a news conference in Seattle on Friday.

The complaints are expected to be just the first of many disputes over evidence in what experts predict will be an extremely complicated case for both defense and prosecution, given the location of the crime scene in a war zone and the possible hostility of witnesses to lawyers from both sides.

Mr. Browne said that after members of his team were prevented from interviewing survivors of the attacks at a hospital, prosecutors interviewed those witnesses the following day. The witnesses were then released, leaving no contact information. “They could just disappear into the countryside,” Mr. Browne said.

He also said that the team was not given access to health records for the wounded civilians or surveillance video that purportedly shows Sergeant Bales returning to his combat outpost after the killings.

US Is Slammed In World Survey About Death Penalty

The United States was the only Western democracy that executed prisoners last year, even as an increasing number of U.S. states are moving to abolish the death penalty, Amnesty International announced Monday.

Claims Payment To Afghans Pales In Comparison To That Sought In The Hasan Case

Compare paymewnts made in other Afghan cases of injury and death:

Bales’ Attorney Says The Army and Afghan War Are On Trial

“I don’t know about the evidence in this case. I don’t know that the government is going to prove much. There’s no forensic evidence. There’s no confessions. … I’m certainly not saying that we’re not taking responsibility for this in the right way, at the right time. But for now, I’m interested in what the evidence is. It’s not like a crime scene in the United States.”

Army Official says the key is ‘that justice be done” – or is that just Army spin?

Army Brig. Gen. Lewis Boone, director of public affairs for the U.S.-led coalition and American forces in Afghanistan, called the shooting spree a “terrible and horrendous act,” but said the U.S. military could not jeopardize the case by disclosing details of the investigation.

“I cannot over emphasize enough how important it is in the U.S. judicial system that the facts of the case, the evidence and the circumstances are safeguarded to ensure proper judicial process,” Boone said. “Whether you are an Afghan or an American, I think you’ll agree that the most important thing at the end of the day is that justice be done.”

In Washington, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States said Sunday that he believes the alleged shooter will be brought to justice.

SSG Bales – Fundamental Preliminary Questions Remain

SSG Bales was quickly taken into custody and placed in pretrial confinement.  As such, general speedy clock timelines have commenced.  However, still unanswered is whether he will remain in pretrial confinement or be returned to the confinement facility at his home base unit at Fort Lewis.  No doubt, the Defense would prefer that the client-defendant be closer to them.

Additionally, national media is reporting that charges have not yet even been preferred.  That seems odd since the provisions of Article 10, UCMJ, and RCM 405 governing review of pretrial confinement have already been triggered.  As such – there are a lot of unanswered questions on even basis procedural matters.

Army Reportedly Scrambles To Pay Victims – What Does The Army Think An Afghan Civilian Life Is Worth???

The legal expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity  of the case, also said that U.S. officials were discussing the best way to  compensate the relatives of the victims and those wounded.
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PTSD Is Now Back In The Spotlight

Bales’ lawyer, John Henry Browne of Seattle, said he didn’t know if his client  had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the  shootings, but said it could be an issue at trial if experts believe it’s  relevant.

Read more: