Military / Military Law

Did this young soldier aid the enemy?

Bradley Manning, the American traitor or human rights champion depending on your perspective, was back in court yesterday. His court-martial officially began, and he now faces 22 serious charges that could carry a life sentence, if he is convicted.

The 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst allegedly gave more than 700,000 classified documents to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Manning deferred his plea, so he and his attorneys have more time to strategize. Both sides are still working to set a date for trial, but is getting close to do-or-die time for the embattled Manning.

Let’s see the newest details about his case…

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Is peeing on somebody’s dead body a war crime? What about peeing on their grave? What about an important monument? As I’ve spoken about before, one of my life’s goals is to pee in every river that was important to the Confederacy. If I relieve myself in the Chickamauga, can a true son of the Cumberland bring me up in front of a war crimes tribunal?

The video of those American Marines urinating on dead Afghan bodies is so disturbing that it somehow demands a legal response. Mitt Romney might never want to “apologize” for America, but maybe that’s just because he’s used to being able to metaphorically urinate on those hoping some of his wealth trickles down.

And yet — 1Ls, say it with me — “most of international law does not exist.” Aside from whatever punishment the United States Marine Corps wants to impose on these guys, there isn’t a whole lot the international community can do to punish them.

Unless we want to call urinating on somebody a “war crime.” But is punishing some jackasses worth diluting the term?

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The former military intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks has spent the last four days in a Maryland military court, undergoing a hearing to determine whether or not his case will proceed to court-martial.

For those new to the party, 24-year-old Bradley Manning is accused of committing the biggest security breach in American history. He has been in detainment for the last 19 months, and he faces a multitude of military charges.

The Article 32 hearings, which began on Friday, are something akin to grand jury proceedings in civilian court. At the end, Investigating Officer Colonel Paul Almanza, an Army Reserve officer and Justice Department prosecutor, will decide recommend whether Manning’s case will proceed to court-martial.

So far, the hearings have been interesting to say the least. Let’s see what’s going on….

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* DLA Piper is blaming the Occupy Wall Street movement for Biglaw’s sad, 2011 bonus season. It looks like we can expect a Cravath match from that firm. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* We could really use some more law schools — fourth tier law schools, in particular. Say hello to the Savannah Law School, a John Marshall Law School Atlanta production. [National Law Journal]

* University of Texas School of Law Dean Larry Sager has been ousted from his position. Readers have flooded our inbox with the news, so we’ll have more on this later. [Texas Tribune]

* This Senate victory for gay servicemembers came with unintended consequences. It’s now kosher to have sex with men, women, and everything else under military law. [Washington Post]

* Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against Stephen McDaniel. If being drawn and quartered were an option, maybe this medieval scholar wouldn’t mind so much. [Macon Telegraph]

* Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Although Ben Stein is the keynote speaker at this year’s ABA Techshow, legal tech nerds will likely be unable to win his money. [ABA Journal]

Dear Suffolk University Law School Administrators: Your Michael Avery problem is not going away (and not just because he has tenure).

On Veterans Day, we told you about Avery, a Suffolk Law professor with a real bug up his ass when it comes to care packages for troops serving overseas. Not long after our story, Suffolk released a wacky statement in which they tried to seem supportive of everybody and everything.

I told them at the time that wouldn’t work.

Now, an adjunct law professor currently in Kabul has cut ties with Suffolk because of Avery, and Suffolk is now in the uncomfortable position of de facto supporting Avery’s comments against a pissed-off military.

What should the school do now?

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On Friday, we told you about Michael Avery, a professor at Suffolk University Law School who objected to a school-wide solicitation for care packages for American servicemen fighting in Afghanistan.

If I were in charge of Suffolk University, I’d have just said, “Yeah, Professor Avery can be a dick sometimes, whatever,” and moved on. I mean, it’s an entire university; I think most people assume that the views of one man don’t necessarily reflect the view of the entire university.

But the powers at be at Suffolk couldn’t leave it at that. Both the dean of the law school and the president of the university had to weigh in and defend, well, everything.

I’m sure all the military guys know what happens when one defends everything….

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Hope that eagle is on the lookout for jobs.

So it’s Wednesday and I’m watching the second night of the excellent Vietnam in HD series on the History channel while my Iroquois are locked in a quagmire against the Greeks in my game of Civilization V. They’ve got a veteran on and he nearly breaks down talking about how much it hurt him to be despised when he came home from the war. I thought to myself that at least one good thing that came out of Vietnam was that our country learned to distinguish between the political leaders who order wars and the fighting men and women who execute the policy. It’s a point that the very same veteran ended up echoing on the last night of the series.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, a law professor was writing a screed objecting to a solicitation to send care packages to troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Let me say that again: the professor was pissed off that students were asked if they could send care packages to soldiers serving abroad.

Yeah, happy Veterans Day….

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* Now that DADT has been repealed, the Ninth Circuit has tossed the Log Cabin Republicans case. How does that Paula Abdul song go? Two steps forward, two steps back? [Los Angeles Times]

* Is this a new way of protecting taxpayers? In early 2012, Bank of America is going to start charging $5 a month for debit card purchases. Thanks Dodd-Frank, thanks a lot. [Wall Street Journal]

* Bob Morse of U.S. News wants to know if the ABA will “take more steps . . . to ensure data integrity” in light of the latest admissions data scandal. Aww, you’re so cute. [ABA Journal]

* The DOJ wants Raj Rajaratnam’s medical information, but they probably don’t need it. Just pick some of the usual fat people diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure. [Bloomberg]

* If I only had a brain heart lower recidivism rate. A serial shoplifter is probably going to lose out on a heart transplant because her health insurance doesn’t cover inmates. [New York Daily News]

* “The road to this day has been long”… and hard. That’s what he said. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has finally been put to bed, and the next logical step would be to ditch DOMA. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]

* “Citizens United has been good for gay rights.” Well, at least it’s been good for something. Are we allowed to like the ruling in this case now? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, just checking. [New York Times]

* And another one gone, another judge bites the dust. $43K wasn’t enough to keep Justice Joseph Covello on the bench. How many more will it take to get a decent raise? [New York Law Journal]

* The First Circuit turned it around on Joel Tenenbaum, reinstating a $675K judgment against him. Charles Nesson couldn’t comment on the decision because he was crying. [Boston Globe]

* Ten-year sentence edition: Samuel Logan’s dad wishes he was still a judge on the Tenth Circuit so he could benchslap the sh*t out of his son for trying to seduce a 14-year-old. [Kansas City Star]

* John Banzhaf continues to fight for coeds’ right to party at Catholic University, but it’s not looking good because it’s hard to immaculately conceive when boys live in the same dorm. [WSJ Law Blog]

Andrew Shirvell: Photoshopportunity?

* SCOTUS halted Duane Buck’s execution in Texas last night. How did it take 16 years for this to happen? Slow and steady doesn’t win the race on death row. [CBS News]

* Casey Anthony owes the state of Florida a pretty penny. At this rate, she may as well go to law school, because she’s already $97,626.98 in the hole. [CNN]

* New lawyers in Florida must take civility pledges. If they’re treating each other with such incivility, why haven’t we seen any benchslaps from that state lately? [ABA Journal]

* The U.S. Trustee has thrown a curveball at two Biglaw firms in the Dodgers bankruptcy case. Will Dewey & LeBoeuf and Young Conaway ever get paid? [Bloomberg]

* You’re so vain, you probably think this movie’s about you. Sorry guys, you may be a few good men, but to be Tom Cruise, you have to be good-looking and have a passion for Xenu. [New York Times]

* Andrew Shirvell has to spill the beans on whether Ave Maria had to warn the state bar about his conduct. Apparently the man’s got great gaydar. Wonder why… [Detroit Free Press]

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