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Osborne Russell
06-18-2008, 11:33 AM
One of the Haditha cases (Lt. Col. Chessani) was dismissed because an investigator that had interviewed a witness -- thus making the interviewer also a witness, i.e. to the statements of the witness, i.e., now they’re both witnesses -- also participated in discussions of whether to charge some guy with something.

I don’t get it. Apparently the idea is that, when the investigator is sitting there and they’re talking about charging who with what, there is an appearance that the investigator’s testimony, if he testifies, will have been torqued by having been at the meeting? Like a cop talking to the DA while the DA is filling out the criminal complaint? That can’t happen more than about forty thousand times a day.

The investigator and everybody else said, under oath, that no one asked the investigator anything about what or whom to charge, with what, and that the investigator never said anything on the topic. The case was dismissed because the appearance created by his mere presence.

htom
06-18-2008, 11:44 AM
No, like the DA talking to the cop. Command influence. The investigator's testimony might be tainted by his commander's opinions of what is or is not to be said, and especially how it could be said.

One of the reasons you want a court martial rather than a criminal trial if you're innocent. (If you're guilty, you want the criminal trial.)

Captain Blight
06-18-2008, 11:55 AM
Can't he just take the Article 15? Surely 10 days KP will set this whole thing straight.

Osborne Russell
06-18-2008, 03:28 PM
No, like the DA talking to the cop. Command influence. The investigator's testimony might be tainted by his commander's opinions of what is or is not to be said, and especially how it could be said.


DA's don't talk to cops before they decide to file charges?

Or is it that the investigator/witness is directly under the command of the guy doing the charging, unlike the cop and the DA?

If so, it would hardly be a novel concern. Surely safeguards had been dreamed up and implemented with great fanfare. Almost looks like sabotage.

htom
06-18-2008, 04:13 PM
Yes, DAs talk to cops. Different chain of command, but it's still a problem, as they both see it as their duty to get convictions. Good or ill, that's how it's done. If you're innocent, you want to be court-martialed.

As I understand the case we're talking about (and my actual experience was long, long, ago), no, the charging authority usually does not talk to the investigators. They write a report and hand it up the line. Questions and requests for elaborations come down the line in writing, and are replied to in writing.

Why the investigator was called into the conference I don't know; I suspect that it was because influence was being put on the person who called the investigator, or that person's superior, who was trying to assure that there was enough evidence to get convictions because that famous Congressman was demanding heads. I am also inclined to think that the investigator was not told what the topic was going to be; he'd point out the problem and not show up.

If you remember, there were people, when the Congressman started running his mouth off, who warned, publicly, that he was in danger of destroying the prosecutions through command influence. He kept running his mouth, to great cheers from that side of the aisle. Was he smart enough to plan that this would happen? Will those who cheered him now turn on him? I'm inclined to think that the answer to both is "no".

Could the Jarheads have planned such a deep plot? Push on the Congressman to push on their superiors to push ... Wait a minute, I thought Jarheads were dumb!

paladin
06-18-2008, 05:11 PM
In the military system it gets really sticky....long, long ago, far, far away....my commanding officer got himself in a real pickle.....he had a local ladyfriend that he would periodically bring to the officers quarters on base......now an enlisted person would be court martialled for it...but officers get away with it....almost.....
First, he had his POV that he imported from the U.S. By Philippine and U.S. status of forces agreement it was black marketing (and in this case a felony) to sell or convey ownership to a local national unless the vehicle had been in country a minimum of 24 months......a single tour of duty was 18 months.....so you would have to be serving your second tour......also....she was his steady treat......he had told her they could get married.......
She gets pregnant......oops.....Cap'n had a round eye wife parked back in the states.....he was on the first tour.....to hush her up he "sold" her his car for $20.00..........she stayed quiet for a few months, then started telling everyone they were getting married.....someone blabbed......she screamed rape..........NOW it was a local case, they couldn't ship him out......
I was taking courses in tagalog and Philippine law at the local University......and my bestus friend was Chief City Fiscal Eller Dula Torres (Head D.A. in the area).....Fiscal Torres was seen on base as my guest, and as a passenger in my TR3A.....bright red, the only one there at the time.....
Suddenly, everytime I left the base, I was searched, and my car was searched.....it was very annoying.....I wanted to know why.....
Commanding officer was trying to get something on me to try to force me to intercede with Torres to get the charges dropped. It Pi$$ed me off......if he asked I would help...to try blackmail wasn't nice....I knew he had been passed over for Major twice, so I let them burn him....Then they shipped him home, and he bought a pistol in Hawaii and screwed up trying to blow his brains out....Sucker still lives down near Norfolk Va...after the local government got through with him, the gov't had their say......never got the chance to retire..

Osborne Russell
06-19-2008, 05:13 PM
Yes, DAs talk to cops. Different chain of command, but it's still a problem, as they both see it as their duty to get convictions. Good or ill, that's how it's done.

But how often does it cause the prosecution to be dismissed?


If you remember, there were people, when the Congressman started running his mouth off, who warned, publicly, that he was in danger of destroying the prosecutions through command influence. He kept running his mouth, to great cheers from that side of the aisle.

Please refresh my memory.


Was he smart enough to plan that this would happen? Will those who cheered him now turn on him? I'm inclined to think that the answer to both is "no".

Could the Jarheads have planned such a deep plot? Push on the Congressman to push on their superiors to push ... Wait a minute, I thought Jarheads were dumb!

But that's just it, it's not rocket science. Just send an investigator into the conference room and presto, case dismissed.

htom
06-19-2008, 07:14 PM
a) Never. Well, I've never heard of it.
b) someone actually doesn't know this? (The actual Hardball video seems to have disappeared from everywhere, lots of links, no video.)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12838343/
http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=2013939
http://news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20080618/cm_uc_crmmax/op_196411

If you google "murtha haditha" you'll find lots more links.

c) without the prior allegations of command influence his presence would have been ignored, as in (a); at most he would have been sent out.

glenallen
06-19-2008, 09:09 PM
..."screwed up trying to blow his brains out"...

:D:D