Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Army Court Of Appeals Schedules Behenna Hearing

The U. S. Army Court of Appeals will conduct a hearing in the case of Lt. Michael Behenna of Edmond on December 9th.

Behenna's defense attorney and parents, Scott and Vicki Behenna, seek a reversal of his sentence of 15 years in the death of an al Qaida operative in Iraq.In an email to supporters of their son, the Behennas wrote, "Michael’s long awaited Appellate Argument has finally been scheduled. It will take place on December 9, 2010 at 10am before the Army Court of Appeals in Washington DC. We eagerly await for Michael’s case to be reviewed by this higher court and are anxious to hear what we believe will be a reversal of the injustice that was done to Michael. If you are in the Washington DC area on this day you are welcome to attend.

The appellate court will review:

1) The failure of the Prosecution to provide critical evidence of the Prosecution’s forensic witness to Michael’s defense counsel;

2) The Military Prosecutor’s reversible error of making false assertions of fact and interjecting her personal opinion in closing arguments;

3) The military judge’s improper instruction limiting Michael’s right to self-defense;

4) The evidence presented of pre-meditated murder was not factually sufficient to support a conviction;

5) The military judge’s failure to instruct the jury on a lesser included offense of murder.

The Army Court of Appeals can overturn Behenna's conviction on any single one of these items. After the hearing on December 9th a ruling should be handed down in early 2011, the Behennas wrote.

In addition to the appeals process, Behenna also has his annual clemency hearing coming up, possibly around the same time as the appellate argument hearing.


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