Marines accused of killing Iraqis request denied request to go straight to trial

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
U.S. Marines accused of killing Iraqi civilian denied request to go straight
to trial without preliminary hearings

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 23 August 2006

SAN DIEGO_The Marine Corps has denied four Marines accused of killing an
Iraqi civilian the option of going straight to trial, a decision that
defense lawyers claimed was a sign that prosecutors do not have a solid

The four are among seven Marines and a sailor accused of kidnapping and
murdering an Iraqi civilian in the town of Hamdania last spring. All could
face the death penalty.

The men had been scheduled for Article 32 hearings, where a commanding
officer determines if there is probable cause to bring a defendant to trial.
But last week they asked to waive their right to the hearings and proceed
straight to trial.

Their attorneys argued the Article 32 hearings would be a "rubber stamp" and
a waste of time and money because all charges would eventually be referred
to courts-martial anyway.

But the Marine Corps said late Tuesday the accused must go to preliminary
hearings. Camp Pendleton spokesman Lt. Col. Sean Gibson said the move was
made "to make a fair and impartial decision on the disposition of these

Some of the attorneys for the men were surprised with the decision.

"They are trying to buy themselves more time to finish an investigation
which was incomplete to begin with," said Joseph Casas, who represents Lance
Cpl. Jerry Shumate.

Attorney Victor Kelly, who represents Cpl. Trent Thomas, called the decision
"profoundly unusual." The two other Marines that hoped to waive their
hearings were Pfc. John Jodka III and Cpl. Marshall Magincalda.

The Marines are among eight service members alleged to have gone into
Hamdania, taken a man from his home, tied him up and shot him without
provocation April 26.

The Article 32 hearings for the eight men could start as soon as Aug 28.