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Old 08-26-2008, 05:40   #1
Blitzer
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Marines Refuse to Testify in Court

Marines Refuse to Testify in Court (Military.com)

Quote:
August 23, 2008

Associated Press <!-- Uncomment this when the Jive comments functionality is available -->

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A judge found two Marines in contempt of court Friday for refusing to testify against a former squad leader accused of killing unarmed detainees in Iraq, but he rejected the prosecution's pleas to throw the men in jail immediately.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson instead ordered Sgt. Ryan Weemer and Sgt. Jermaine Nelson to return to court in 30 days to begin proceedings on the contempt charges.

The men invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination after being called to testify in the civilian trial of former Marine Jose Luis Nazario Jr.

The two face military charges of their own over the Nov. 9, 2004, shootings in Fallujah during some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq war.

Weemer and Nelson could have been the trial's most important witnesses. Other Marines are scheduled to testify about events that day, but unlike Weemer and Nelson, prosecutors do not allege that Nazario ordered those witnesses to shoot detainees.

Larson said before ruling on the contempt issue that he did not believe jailing the men would compel them to testify.

"My suspicion is considering what these men have been through, there is probably not a whole lot in this world they do fear," he said.

Several Marines allege Nazario shot two Iraqi men who had been detained while his squad searched a house, according to a Naval Criminal Investigative Service criminal complaint. The complaint claims four Iraqi men were killed during the action.

The case came to light in 2006 when Weemer volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a lie-detector screening that included a question about the most serious crime he ever committed.

Larson has ruled that the interview cannot be presented as evidence.

When prosecutor Jerry Behnke asked Nelson whether Nazario ordered him to shoot and kill a detainee, he responded, "Sir, at this time, I'd like to plead the Fifth Amendment."

Larson asked if there was any condition under which he would testify. Nelson told him "no."

It was nearly identical testimony when Weemer took the stand.

The proceedings became so contentious that Larson at one point asked if the two Marines were perpetuating "a charade." Nelson's attorney, Joseph Low, said he objected to that characterization.

Weemer and Nelson have been granted immunity in the federal case and told that their testimony would not be used against them in their own military cases.

Their attorneys, however, do not believe their testimony would be withheld from their upcoming courts-martial.
Behnke pleaded with the judge to jail both Marines immediately.

"The government is extremely concerned about the fraud that is being put before the jury," Behnke said.

Larson declined to jail the Marines without a contempt trial but said he also has "serious concerns about what is going on here."

Weemer's attorney Chris Johnson asked the judge for leniency, saying Weemer was facing a murder charge and that he was fighting for his life. Larson dismissed the argument, saying his understanding was the last thing a Marine had was his honor.

"This court is once again calling on his honor and integrity," Larson said.

Behnke said Weemer was made an offer to plead guilty to a reduced charge of dereliction of duty in his military criminal case. Until recently, Nelson was cooperating with the government, the prosecutor said.

Weemer and Nelson were previously jailed for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury looking into allegations against Nazario, whose trial began Thursday.

Nazario's federal trial marks the first time in which a civilian jury will decide whether the alleged actions of a former service member in combat violated of the rules of engagement. A law written in 2000 and amended in 2004 made that possible.

During opening statements, prosecutor Charles Kovats described Nazario as a man who killed "unarmed, submissive, docile" detainees and encouraged men under his charge to do the same.

Defense attorney Kevin McDermott countered that Nazario killed insurgents to protect his men in a city where every resident was looking for a fight.

Nazario, 28, has pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter on suspicion of killing or causing others to kill four unarmed detainees, assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. If convicted of all the charges, he could face more than 10 years in prison.

Weemer was ordered this month to stand trial in military court on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah. He has pleaded not guilty.

Nelson, 26, is slated to be court-martialed in December on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty for his role in the deaths. Although he has not entered a plea in military court, Nelson's attorney has said his client is innocent.


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Old 08-26-2008, 19:09   #2
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:33   #3
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Semper Fi.

They are doing the right thing. The disturbing part s that this came to light in an inadmissable lie detector test. Isn't there a law saying something about those can only look for deception?
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Old 09-12-2008, 15:53   #4
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Semper Fi.

They are doing the right thing. The disturbing part s that this came to light in an inadmissable lie detector test. Isn't there a law saying something about those can only look for deception?
Ummm... It is an "inadmissable" test, which means it cannot be "admitted" as evidence in a criminal trial.

That doesn't mean that the test is ultra-top-secret and the administrators of the test can't use it for ANY other purpose (such as denying employment or starting a criminal investigation).

What's disturbing here is that a CIVILIAN court is trying a marine for actions that he may have committed in a war zone on the other side of the world. This should be declared out of their jurisdiction. If a crime was committed, the Marine Corps should recall this guy to active duty and try him a Court Martial.
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Old 09-13-2008, 00:25   #5
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what about


Death Before Dishonor


They are doing exactly what they should do, maybe not what some people consider "right"

but we all know how we love paper pushers and bean counters.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:19   #6
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Are these Marines refusing to testify because it is "right" or because of self-interest?
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Old 09-13-2008, 11:21   #7
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Are these Marines refusing to testify because it is "right" or because of self-interest?
We still have legal rights even though we wear a uniform. The fifth still applies and they can take it. The powers to be are pushing this in Fed court because they know a conviction at a Courts Martail won't happen.

Why come to the Marine forum when you’re not a Jarhead to stir it up? I have no idea what kind of integrity that these Marines have nor do I know if any of them are guilty. I do know that they are presumed to be innocent.

Last edited by Marine8541; 09-13-2008 at 20:28..
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Old 09-14-2008, 16:57   #8
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We still have legal rights even though we wear a uniform. The fifth still applies and they can take it. The powers to be are pushing this in Fed court because they know a conviction at a Courts Martail won't happen.

Why come to the Marine forum when you’re not a Jarhead to stir it up? I have no idea what kind of integrity that these Marines have nor do I know if any of them are guilty. I do know that they are presumed to be innocent.

Good Post.
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