Mahmudiya rape-murder case against ex-US soldier belongs in federal court: prosecutors

[JURIST] Former US Army Pfc. Steven D. Green [JURIST news archive] should be prosecuted in civilian court under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act [text], and not under the military system of justice as urged by the defense, federal prosecutors argued in a motion filed late Friday night. Green faces capital charges for his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya"). His civilian trial is currently scheduled for April 13, 2009 [JURIST report]. Green's lawyers have argued that he should have been tried under the military system because the alleged acts occurred while Green was enlisted; Green told his commanding officer about the incident twice while still enlisted; Green was honorably discharged due to a psychiatric disorder diagnosis after the Army knew of the Mahmudiya incident; the Army did not follow proper procedures in discharging Green, and thus Green's discharge was not valid; and the Army rejected Green's offer to re-enlist in the Army and face a court-martial for murder and rape charges. Green's lawyers argued that the circumstances amount to a violation of Green's due process rights. In their motion, federal prosecutors countered Green's factual assertion that Green was not discharged in accordance with standard military procedure, and further argued that the evidence supports a death penalty charge.

Four soldiers [JURIST report] from the 101st Airborne Division have already been convicted in military court for crimes stemming from the Mahmudiya incident. Spc. James P. Barker and Sgt. Paul E. Cortez [JURIST reports] received prison sentences of 90 and 100 years respectively after they pleaded guilty to participating in the attack. Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, who stayed at the soldiers' checkpoint but had prior knowledge of the plan, was sentenced to 27 months after pleading guilty [JURIST report] in March to conspiracy to commit rape and premeditated murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Pfc. Jesse Spielman was sentenced to 110 years in prison after being convicted [JURIST report] on four counts of felony murder, rape, conspiracy to commit rape, and housebreaking with intent to commit rape. All four will be eligible for parole in 10 years. AP has more.



 

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