Military justice book

The Chronicle reports:

Barbara (Obremski) Allen, widow of Chester native First Lt. Louis Allen, will host a book-signing of her new release “Front Toward Enemy” On Saturday, Oct. 23 from 3-6 p.m., at John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen.

When Lt. Allen was murdered in Iraq in 2005 he left behind Barbara and their four sons ages 20 months to 6 years. While the Sergeant accused of his murder signed a confession, it was rejected and he eventually walked out of the Army and his court martial a free man. This is the impossible story.

Apparently Congressman Benjamin Gilman refers to her story as one of “butchered justice.”

There is a website here at www.unconventional

The case is United States v. Martinez, which was tried at Fort Bragg. reported on 22 October 2008:

Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez at Fort BraggMilitary prosecutors argued Wednesday that the first soldier accusing of killing a direct superior in Iraq – known as "fragging" during the Vietnam war – told other soldiers he wanted to kill and burn his National Guard officer.

Defense attorney Maj. John Gregory refuted the prosecution’s claims in his 90-minute opening statement, saying there was no concrete evidence linking Martinez to the killings. He also said Martinez was charged because of his feud with Esposito, a by-the-book West Point graduate who took over a relaxed National Guard unit.

Here is a New York Times article from 20 February 2009:

However, documents obtained by The New York Times show that more than two years before the trial, while prosecutors were still gathering evidence against him, Sergeant Martinez signed an offer to plead guilty to the murder charges. He offered to be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, and thereby avoid the death penalty.

“This offer to plea originated with me,” Sergeant Martinez said in the plea offer. “No person has made any attempt to force or coerce me into making this offer.”

The offer was swiftly rejected by the general responsible for prosecuting the case.

There has been a rich debate in civilian legal circles about whether charging a person with a crime punishable by death compels some defendants to confess to crimes they might not have committed.

[A] prosecutor of the Martinez case who was not involved in the decision to reject the plea offer, said there was concern within the Army that Sergeant Martinez might have been eligible for parole after 10 years, despite acknowledging murdering two officers.

I seem to remember some discussion within the military justice community about the rejection of the PTAO because of a lack of understanding of the post-trial process, especially clemency and parole.

Here is a CAAFLog post on the case.  I point you to the two comments from Dew_Process.

Obviously a big story warranting inclusion on CAAFLog’s 10 biggest that year.  More importantly a heart rending experience for the families of the two dead Soldiers.