Friday, August 14, 2015

Another questionable jurisdictional assumption

The Air Force Times reports:  A Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, airman is charged with attempted murder for allegedly setting fire to a home in January 2014 in an effort to kill the woman inside, then conspiring again this year to kill her, according to documents filed with the Judge Advocate General’s office. Staff Sgt. Elijah Langhorne faces charges of conspiring to and attempting to commit murder, as well as an arson charge, JAG records show.
  • Prosecutors said he had been planning the alleged murder since October 2013.
  • On Jan. 17, 2014, Langhorne allegedly set fire to the home in Jones, Oklahoma, while the woman was inside,
  • According to court documents, the next year, in March 2015, Langhorne conspired with another airman to murder the same woman, including tracking her whereabouts as well as acquiring a firearm, equipment, and clothing.
It is appropriate to ask whether such a series of crimes should be charged in the civilian jurisdiction, rather than at court-martial. In reviewing some cases and legal changes over the last few years, it appears that the civilian courts would deal with this matter in many other countries.  If that were the case, the military courts could attend to discipline matters. 

There's a rather odd twist to the sad story above.  In 2012 . . .
What began as a typical Tuesday evening ended with several acts of bravery, three arrests and the wingman spirit resonating through the streets of Oklahoma City.
After an attempted car-theft,
Mr. Langhorne said he drove the guys through the neighborhood, looking for the suspects and soon found two of them. 
"I wasn't even thinking, I threw it in park and ran after them," Mr. Langhorne said. "I was shouting at them and had my flashlight on them." 
The chase led Mr. Langhorne to jumping over fences, running through backyards and behind buildings, while Mr. Brown stayed with the car and Mr. DeSpain ran down the street following the suspects and Mr. Langhorne
"It's amazing to me that they stepped up and did that," Mr. Brown said. "I'm the kind of person that wouldn't take off after the suspects; I'd just call the cops. I was just there to back up the guys. I didn't want them to be out there alone." 
Mr. Langhorne and Mr. DeSpain caught two of the suspects, and held them until police arrived.

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