Thursday, December 10, 2020

A bit more on Bales

Geoff Corn starts his post,

“Daniel Patrick Moynihan is often credited for the timeless axiom that, ‘you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.’ The recent editorial by former Army prosecutor and Lieutenant Colonel Jay Morse explaining why inmate Bales is not deserving of a presidential pardon starkly illustrates the axiom’s relevance.”

For more robust facts about the case, See United States v. Bales, No. 20130743, 2017 CCA LEXIS 627 (A. Ct. Crim. App. Sept. 27, 2017) (unpub.) aff’d without opinion 77 M.J. 268 (C.A.A.F. 2017) cert. petition denied Bales v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2692, 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3906 (20). The petition for writ of certiorari to to the U.S. Supreme Court is here.

(For those following the ongoing discussion about access to the Supreme Court from CAAF, this is a case where the effect of the “grant” and affirmance without opinion allowed direct access.)

(Judge Nance presided over the trial; he was the trial judge at issue in United States v. Bergdahl, which has raised issues of judicial recusal.)

In 2020, Bales petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus which was denied, Bales v. Commandant, No. 19-3112-JWL, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100641 (D.C. Kan. June 9, 2020). The petition seems again related to discovery matters and his use of mefloquine hyrochloride. There is some discussion of the petition in Army Times here titled Soldier convicted of massacring 16 Afghans seeks new civilian trial, citing a psychosis inducing anti-malarial drug.

In considering the matter several points are in order.
  • Bales pleaded guilty.
  • When a person pleads guilty at court-martial they must admit they committed the offense(s), provide a factual basis, from their own mouths or in writing, to support each element of the offense, and assure the military judge they do not have any defenses.
  • In this case there was a pretrial agreement in which, normally it would be agreed there are no defenses and there is a written stipulation of facts supporting the guilty plea.
  • On appeal, "[Bales sought] a sentence rehearing alleging the prosecution failed to disclose evidence related to his case, the court failed to investigate a military judge’s disclosure of protected information, and an unreasonable multiplication of charges for sentencing."
Bales also brought a suit against the State Department on a FOIA action. Bales v. DoS, No. 18-2778(RC), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39217 (D.C.D.C. Mar. 6, 2020) (dismissed on summary judgement for DoS). This seems to be related to the QP for the Supreme Court petition which raised two issues related to pretrial discovery.

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