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Dec-11-2008 07:48printcomments

Retired Head JAG Interferes in Plans For Lawsuit Meant to Free Marine Sergeant Hutchins

Those of us fighting for justice for Hutchins will not stop until his freedom is realized.

Sgt Lawrence Hutchins III
Sgt Lawrence Hutchins III

(FORT LEAVENWORTH) - Sgt Lawrence Hutchins III sits in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, wrongfully convicted of manslaughter. His case is one that made worldwide headlines in 2006, and continues to set records for the amount of corruption and dishonor involved in putting this amazing Marine away for over a decade–all because he did his job.

There are those who have worked to free him, and continue to do so even now, almost three years after the incident in Hamdania when seven Marines and a Navy Corpsman ended the life of a terrorist responsible for many deaths.

There was to be a lawsuit filed in federal court regarding the practice of attainder (pre-trial incarceration), and addressing the Feres Doctrine (the reason the government cannot be sued by private citizens). A former Marine officer and defense attorney was to represent certain concerned parties involved with the Hutchins case. He was forced to retire by the Marine Corps after his outspoken condemnation of the treatment of the Pendleton 8, Haditha Marines, and the corruption so rampant in the military justice system.

For those trying so hard to free Sgt Hutchins, the last of the Pendleton 8, the idea of a day in court was the Holy Grail. We would be able to finally present exculpatory evidence that was blocked from Hutchins' trial, including multiple counts of perjury on the part of the NCIS "investigators" and others. Also present would be proof that attainder is unconstitutional, as are the methods used to interrogate our troops.

Unfortunately, our chance to be heard was thwarted by Gen. David Brahms, the former head JAG for the Marine Corps. Brahms was retained by a member of the Pendleton 8 as a civilian attorney during the investigation and subsequent courts-martial. His ongoing connections–and his arguable involvement–in the corruption used against the Pendleton 8 resulted in plea deals being taken by men who had done nothing wrong.

The plans for the lawsuit were a quiet affair for obvious reasons, shared only on a need-to-know basis while the filing details were finalized. However, Brahms found out about the plans, and within 48 hours had met with our attorney in private. While the details of the meeting remain unclear, the fact remains that this attorney removed himself from going forward with the suit. He is currently working to provide us with a list of other attorneys willing to take the case, but at this time the plans to argue on behalf of Hutchins have been stalled.

Those of us fighting for justice for Hutchins will not stop until his freedom is realized. In the meantime, an honorable man, an incredible squad leader, and a stellar Marine sits in Leavenworth, a prisoner of the very government he would have given his life to defend.

Special thanks to the JAG Hunter, Kit Lange and Euphoric Reality

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Kay B. Day June 8, 2012 12:37 pm (Pacific time)

This isn't the first time politics have done in our troops. The cases of Capt. Carl Bjork and also the NavySEAL3 are examples of railroading for the sake of politics. Apparently, our prez can drop a drone on whomever he chooses. Meanwhile, these men who do their best to follow legal orders get railroaded. It's worse since 2008.

RaceBannon December 18, 2008 12:18 pm (Pacific time)

VIC, sorry to chime in late. We have copies of the autopsy report and the description of the body exhumed does not match the sworn statements of the accused. What happened in Hamdania can best be described as 7 Marines and One Corpsman being sent on a snatch and grab mission to eliminate a terrorist similar to Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, only the government decided to cover up this type of operation even though it meant framing innocent men, all done in order to hide the fact that Marines were going house to house and pulling people out to kill them because they were on a terrorist watch list. While clear thinking people applaud the extermination of vermin who set off bombs that kill Americans, some more sensitive types do not think the method was legal or moral. Killing Americans is acceptable through terrorist means and cannot be considered amoral or unethical, bt killing terrorists must be done in such a way as to be environmentally friendly. ...either way, these men were sent on a government ordered mission to apprehend and kill a known terrorist and kill him, and when they returned, NCIS framed them for murder for reasons we are still trying to figure out. Try gping to this link and read the autopsy yourself, then search for the record of just what they pleaded to...

Chameleon December 13, 2008 1:10 pm (Pacific time)

Vic, when was the last time you saw any politician or government official stand up and take responsibility for their actions? Since Abu-Ghraib they've done nothing but damage control. FYI, one more time: No senior leader was ignorant of what could and "did" happen there. The Navy and Marine Corps financed an experiment on human abuse of power yet ALL professed shock that such a thing could happen there. Now, a decent Marine takes the fall for the screw-ups in leadership by his superiors. When was the last time "any" leader stood up and took responsibility for his screw-ups? Well, let me tell you; "one" Marine stood his ground, stood by his men, and is sitting at Leavenworth while people like yourself are drawn into believing him far less than he is. This Marine has a child that no government official gave a darn about yet the judge at Bin-Laden's bodyguard/driver's trial admonished the jury to consider that this insurgent was a father and family man when making their decision. The judge, an American, at Hutchins' GCM never said a word about "his" child or the fact that "he" was a father. In fact, the prosecutor tried for 30 years, inferring he didn't care if Hutchins or his daughter ever saw each other. He was allowed to get away with this disgusting display of lack of character and humanity. One thing you can bet on though when you ask why Hutchins would be set up; Maliki has a smile on his face because he wants blood, or at the least...suffering... for Abu-Ghraib and for the death of "any" Iraqi, whether innocent or insurgent. They say the truth hurts. Well, it sure as heck does. It hurts a decent young man who is now falsely portrayed a murderer but never had a chance to Prove he wasn't. It hurts those who love him. It hurts Marines and any of our military who put their lives on the line for this country. Guess what Vic? It's going to hurt this country because it's allowing decent people to be sacrificed. Hutchins is not the only one at Leavenworth who has been falsely portrayed and convicted, and believe me, neither he, nor they, will be the last.

Vic December 13, 2008 10:21 am (Pacific time)

If indeed there is nothing to this and it is a set-up...what is the point? Why would the military sacrifice one of it's own that it knows to be innocent? Who benefits ? I cant imagine what the point would be. I appreciate any thoughts

Chameleon December 13, 2008 4:23 am (Pacific time)

Vic, your first mistake is to take the media's word as gospel. Ignorant people tend to do that. This article does "not" lie. I was at Hutchins' court-martial. Since you weren't there for those two weeks where the "government", in the name of national security, denied information necessary to Hutchins' defense, you might try engaging your brain Vic. If "whoever" was killed was an innocent then why was info on the jerk classified? It isn't exactly rocket science, unless one is eager to ignore the truth. As for the testimony of Hutchins' comrades Vic; they saved their butts from lengthy prison sentences just as Lt. Phan saved his own six from 10 years. Did the media report that several of those who testified against their Sergeant wrote a letter asking for clemency for him stating that he was a consumate leader and that they'd be proud to follow him? The prosecution portrayed two of them as afraid of Hutchins. Funny how one contradicts another isn't it? FYI, Vic, the Marine Corps doesn't do diddily without planning and handing orders down from the higher levels of command. But did it ever occur to you that they might disavow those orders? There's your truth whether you like it or not. You can spew your hatred till the cows come home but it doesn't change the fact that a decent man got screwed and is paying the price. FYI, again, Vic: Get your facts straight; Hutchins did "not" drag anyone from their home. Hutchins did "not" order anyone to shoot. FYI, one last time, Vic: You advised Ms. Lange too get her facts straight. How about you doing the same? Thomas first testified that the man was a terrorist. Later, he changed his tune. Odd how the threat of years in prison can do that isn't it? Bottom line, don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Vic December 12, 2008 6:39 am (Pacific time)

The only knowledge I have regarding this case comes from the testimony of his fellow Marines, who were indeed there. Maybe they are lying ? One has to be naive to think that for some reason this poor guy is being set up. Iraqis are killed every day and there arent thousands of arrested soldiers facing charges. Obviously there is something to these charges. I applaud the Marines who turned this guy in. There are good people everywhere, I guess.

moa8m December 12, 2008 12:01 am (Pacific time)

My my Vic, I guess you must have been in Hamdania, Iraq at the time of this are just another "uniformed,thinks he knows what he's talking about" jerk. YOU have no idea of the goings on in this case. You believe what you want to believe. Were you in the courtrooms for any of these courts martials? My guess would be NO, or you would know more than the BS you are posting here. Do the world a favor and keep your "daydreams" to yourself. For those who had to go through this nightmare of watching loved ones incarcerated for doint their job in a WAR...enough is enough.

Vic December 11, 2008 11:10 am (Pacific time)

From CBS news: "Testimony from several of his comrades pointed to him as the mastermind of the plot to kidnap and kill a suspected insurgent. Hutchins, of Plymouth, Mass., was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, making a false official statement and larceny. He was acquitted of kidnapping, assault and housebreaking. Testimony showed the victim was kidnapped and killed when the squad couldn't find the suspected insurgent. " So when he couldnt find a "terrorist",he dragged an innocent man out of his house and killed him so he could claim a "kill". Great guy...I hope he burns in hell forever, like any other cold blooded murderer. He will probably be released from prison soon tho, as the victim was an Iraqi, and no gung-ho sociopathic killer in a US uniform does time for killing Iraqis or any other brown people for that matter. This article is a damn lie, as the person killed was not a terrorist, even the guys in this murderers platoon admitted that. Kit, get your facts straight, or post your crap under the subtitle "racist fiction" where it belongs.

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