Military lawyers say that clemency is nearly always requested after a court-martial conviction, but it is rarely granted, and that having the top admiral in the Navy take over authority for a case is nearly unheard-of.
“In my 15 years of military law, I’ve never seen it,” said Patrick Korody, a former Navy prosecutor who has followed the Gallagher case. “But there is a feeling among military lawyers that the defense has just steamrolled everyone below, so giving it to the C.N.O. is the right decision. He has authority to do the proper thing.”
Despite the grim details of the case, Mr. Korody said, clemency for the SEAL, who led a platoon in combat in Iraq, was not unreasonable.