Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Michael Behenna Case Hearing Planned

There's word today from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, that imprisoned Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna will be getting a clemency hearing tomorrow in preparation for a formal hearing in Washington in December.

Convicted by an Army tribunal of killing an al-Qaida operative in Iraq, Behenna is serving a 15-prison sentence. Appeals and requests for a new trial are based on the withholding of evidence by JAG prosecutors during his trial.

In a recent update on his case, his parents (Scott and Vicki Behenna of Edmond) wrote that a new clemency hearing is expected in December. Today, we were told there's some action involving Behenna but it was uncertain exactly what it was; later, we learned it was preparation for the hearing. The hearing at Leavenworth is a prelude to the official December hearing.

In that update on her son's case, federal prosecutor Vicki Behenna wrote, " I wanted to give all of Michael’s supporters an update on his appeal. Seven long months after Michael’s lawyers filed his brief with the appellate court the government finally filed its response brief on July 20, 2010. As a government lawyer myself I have to say that I am very disappointed in the government’s brief. In my 22 years as a federal prosecutor I have never seen a government lawyer misrepresent facts to an appellate court as was done in this brief. I understand that a lawyer must advocate their position, but as a young lawyer in the Department of Justice I was taught that my primary goal was to seek justice. Justice requires that a prosecutor act fairly, ethically and in all things uphold the constitution which we are sworn to defend.

"Unfortunately, the principals of justice and professional ethics have been completely disregarded by the military lawyers in Michael’s case. They seemingly created facts to fit their arguments rather than argue the case on its merits. Michael’s lawyer Jack Zimmerman needed no less than 18 pages in his reply brief to correct the countless misrepresentations of fact repeatedly made by the government. It is a sad day for the military justice system for the government attorneys to be so disingenuous in their arguments."


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