Monday, May 30, 2011

His 'Punishment' Is A Crime

By Mike McCarville

Memorial Day. Remembering those who gave all.

And those who continue to give everything they've got.

This Memorial Day, as for virtually every day since he's been imprisoned, I think today of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna of Edmond, in a Fort Leavenworth cell awaiting justice from the United States Army.

Regular followers of this site know his case well; for those who do not, Lt. Behenna is serving a 15-year sentence arising from the death of an al-Qaida operative in Iraq. That Behenna killed him is not the issue; that Behenna's trial was marked by prosecutorial misconduct is the issue. JAG prosecutors withheld evidence favorable to the defendant. That's a breach of judicial ethics, ordinarily prompting a tossed verdict or a new trial. Promptly.

But not with the Army. An endless series of appeals by Behenna's family have, to date, gone nowhere other than to witness his sentence trimmed. The Army may yet order the verdict be tossed or a new trial be held.


Meanwhile, this young Edmond officer with an exemplary record and a superb military vitae (Ranger, 101st Airborne platoon commander) who wanted only to serve his country, sits in prison.

His "punishment" is a crime.

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