Special sentencing for vets

Should military veterans get a break when they are sentenced for crimes?

Asks a piece in the Wall Street Journal.  This is interesting in light of some discussion on CAAFLog about sentencing in court-martial and sentence ranges under the UCMJ.  Seems some civilian judges are more interested in giving a sentence based on the whole person and individualized rather than  a set amount.

“We dump all kinds of money to get soldiers over there and train them to kill, but we don’t do anything to reintegrate them into our society,” says John L. Kane, a federal judge in Denver.

Two weeks ago Kane sentenced a former Iraq war vet, John Brownfield (pictured in Iraq in 2004), to probation rather than prison after he pleaded guilty to illegally selling tobacco to prison inmates when he worked as a correctional officer in 2007. Kane did so despite the fact that Brownfield’s lawyer and the prosecution initially recommended that he sentence Brownfield to a year in prison.

Here’s a WSJ Law Journal piece, which details the proliferation of special criminal courts being set up across the country to keep vets out of prison as well as examples of leniency by federal judges. Click here for Kane’s absorbing 30-page sentencing memo in the Brownfield case.

The phenomenon is stirring up controversy. Some legal experts say singling out veterans risks establishing a two-tier system of justice.