Thursday, May 9, 2019

Why was ex-Lieutenant Behenna pardoned?

The White House
Ex-First Lieutenant Michael Behenna, who was pardoned by President Donald J. Trump, has made a public statement -- available on YouTube -- about the reason he was pardoned. The Oklahoman has the story here. Lieut. Behenna says the President told him the basis was prosecutorial misconduct. Was it a violation of Brady v. Maryland?

Here is the text of the White House press office's statement:
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for former Army First Lieutenant Michael Behenna of Oklahoma.

In 2009, a military court sentenced Mr. Behenna to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone. After judgment, however, the U.S. Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna’s claim of self-defense. Additionally, the Army Clemency and Parole Board reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible in 2014—just 5 years into his sentence. Upon his release, dozens of Patriot Guard motorcycle riders met Mr. Behenna to escort him back to his home in Oklahoma.

Mr. Behenna’s case has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public. Thirty-seven generals and admirals, along with a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, signed a brief in support of Mr. Behenna’s self-defense claim. Numerous members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, Oklahoma’s then-Governor Mary Fallin, and current Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter have also expressed support for Mr. Behenna. Further, while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that no mention of prosecutorial misconduct appears in the press release. Also interesting because, as CAAF found, the information not disclosed developed during trial (involving the opinion of a government-retained expert) and was cumulative of evidence the defense had already presented. That evidence did relate to Behenna's self-defense claim, but was incosistent with the testimony of all fact witnesses and Behenna's prior statements. It is hard to see how it would have mattered to the result. CAAF found, quite properly, I think, that there was no prejudice.


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