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Retired Head JAG Interferes in Plans For Lawsuit Meant to Free Marine Sergeant HutchinsPerspective by Kit Lange Special to Salem-News.com
Those of us fighting for justice for Hutchins will not stop until his freedom is realized.
(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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