Judge orders independent investigator in Iraq ‘fragging’ case
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A judge has ordered the government to pay for an independent investigator who will help prepare a defense for a soldier accused of killing two superior officers in Iraq. Military judge Col. Patrick Parrish granted the request after lawyers for Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez complained Army investigators haven’t cooperated with them.
Martinez, 39, of Troy, N.Y., is the only soldier known to be charged with killing his superior officer during the Iraq war, also known as “fragging.”
He is accused of killing Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., by setting off grenades and a mine in their room at one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in June 2005. The pair were his superior officers in the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard.
Allen, who grew up in Chester, N.Y., was a biology teacher at George F, Baker High School in Tuxedo.
Before issuing his ruling, Parrish noted that a civilian defendant in a death penalty case could be given an independent investigator at government expense.
“Do you think that would sit well with Congress, knowing that a soldier has fewer rights than a person sitting in a federal prison?” Parrish asked military prosecutor Capt. Adam Siple.
Parrish gave the defense until Jan. 19 to recommend an investigator to be hired.
Military judge grants access to files in Iraq murder case
(Fort Bragg, NC-AP) January 11, 2007 - Attorneys representing a soldier charged with killing two superior officers in Iraq will get access to the government's electronic data, including classified evidence.
The military judge ordered the access Thursday. Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez faces two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Captain Phillip Esposito of Suffern, New York, and First Lieutenant Louis Allen of Milford, Pennsylvania.
Prosecutors say Martinez, of the New York Army National Guard, set off grenades and a mine in a room where Esposito and Allen were staying in June 2005.
The judge says that the government must allow access to both unclassified and classified data collected in the case. He also ordered the government to provide a computer expert to the defense lawyers.
Neither of these developments is unusual. This being a death penalty case, the court is going to bend over backwards to avoid looking as if Martinez isn't being given a "fair" trial. Of course to some people (especially the defense team), fairness is defined as a guarantee that Martinez gets off scott free.
This development is the one that really pisses me off:
At a November hearing, defense lawyers hinted that a Supreme Court decision barring the execution of mentally retarded defendants could keep the Army from seeking a death sentence against Martinez. They didn't elaborate.
Mentally retarded? Martinez isn't just a soldier, he's a noncomissioned officer. Someone the Army had seen fit to give a position of authority to. It's disheartening enough that he may be a murdering sociopath, but now the defense team is going to tell the world he's mentally retarded?!?!
I apologize in advance for putting this so indelicately, but these lawyers are preparing to drop their pants and take a shit on the whole US Army NCO Corps. What's that going to do for the morale of our troops in harm's way? I guess murdering two men wasn't enough damage for him. Now his lawyers are helping him spread the pain. Disgraceful.
This whole episode just reinforces my belief that lawyers are no longer members of a profession. They are priests in some bizarre religion. A religion that performs sacrifices. Public safety. National security. And now the honor of our soldiers. All sacrificial lambs to some warped vision of "justice."