Thursday, July 12, 2007

Charges Against Haditha Marines May Be Dropped

You can read more of my posts on the subject here, and here.

I've been telling you for a while now that the case against the Marines is weak at best. We know there was an ambush (sorry Murtha), there is audio and video evidence that appears to prove the Marines' innocence, the video was shot by a terrorist sympathizer, and it showed up after a very lengthly amount of time after the incident.

When you throw in the fumbling around the prosecution has been doing in court it seems that there may not be any alternative but to drop the charges. Looks like that may be happening. (July 12):

The government's case against a Marine accused of fatally shooting Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha lacks sufficient evidence to go to a court-martial and should be dropped, a hearing officer determined.

The murder charges were brought against Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt for killing three Iraqi brothers in November 2005.

The hearing officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, wrote in a report released by the defense Tuesday that those charges were based on unreliable witness accounts, insupportable forensic evidence and questionable legal theories. He also wrote that the case could have dangerous consequences on the battlefield, where soldiers might hesitate during critical moments when facing an enemy.

"The government version is unsupported by independent evidence," Ware wrote in the 18-page report. "To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary."

Basically, the eye witness testimony doesn't stand up to scrutiny, and the Marines were within the rules of engagement.

This is the second time an investigating officer has recommended charges not continue to trial in connection wit the Haditha killings. In the case of Marine lawyer Capt. Randy W. Stone, the investigating officer recommended Stone's dereliction of duty charge be dealt with administratively.

Let's see if the government offers him a deal to testify against the other Marines as they did with the last guy.


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