U.S. v. Army E-5 – Baumholder (Smith Barracks), Germany
Summary – Our client, an infantry soldier, was charged with multiple aggravated assaults on Iraqi insurgents/detainees and dereliction of duty. He allegedly stuck a gun in the mouths of 3 different Iraqi detainees and supposedly severely beat another in the back of an MRAP in Sadr City, Iraq causing grievous bodily harm. The prosecution charged the client and Article 32 was scheduled on very short notice, giving Mr. Waddington only days to prepare and to be present to defend the client. This was done although the Government knew that the client was represented by Mr. Waddington. Mr. Waddington has a busy trial schedule and is located in the USA. In Mr. Waddington’s opinion, which is based on years of experience in dealing with Army prosecutors, his experience in defending many court-martial cases, his knowledge of the Smith Barracks prosecutors and his experience as a former JAG lawyer, this was done to catch the defense off guard and to deprive the client the ability to be prepared and to mount a defense. Mr. Waddington, believing that the prosecution was bluffing, cleared his schedule and rushed to Germany to defend the case with a few days notice.
The defense team quickly investigated the background of the accusers, including a disgruntled 1LT (the main instigator of the allegations) and prepared to battle at Article 32. The lead prosecutor expected us to delay Article 32 (this info was told to Mr. Waddington by an Army JAG stationed at Smith Barracks). The defense aggressively fought the charges at Article 32. The Article 32 officer recommended a trial on 2 of the 6 charges. The case was sent to the Commanding General with a recommendation that the case go to trial. The prosecution tried to get the charges referred (sent to a court martial). In Mr. Waddington’s experience, the General/convening authority almost always follows the recommendation of the prosecution/SJA. In other words, if the prosecution wants to take the case to trial, then the General agrees. In an attempt to stop the court martial, the defense wrote and sent a memorandum to the Commanding General. In the memo, the defense explained why the charges should be dropped and why the case should not be sent to court martial. The General refused to send the case to court martial, against the recommendation of the Government.
Result: ALL CHARGES DISMISSED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL