Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is hearing oral arguments today in the case of ex-Camp Pendleton Marine Lawrence Hutchins III, who was convicted of murdering a man in Hamdaniya, Iraq in 2006.
At issue is whether Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus influenced the case illegally with statements he made in the public venue. The court will also consider whether the Naval Criminal Investigative Service violated Hutchins’ constitutional rights when investigators questioned him despite his request for an attorney.
Hutchins’ lawyer, Maj. Babu Kaza, told U-T San Diego:
“If the court agrees that the secretary of the Navy acted unlawfully, it would be a landmark decision, and a victory not just for Sgt. Hutchins, but for every service member who could one day find themselves at the mercy of the military justice system."
Hutchins has served roughly five years of an 11 year sentence at the MCAS Miramar brig. The military accused him of being the leader of a squad that kidnapped a 52-year-old unarmed Iraq man from his home, marched him to a ditch, and then executed him.