An Army court-martial jury at Ft Bragg has found Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez not guilty of both counts of premeditated murder he faced stemming from the deaths of his superior officers CPT Phillip Esposito and LT Louis Allen. The alleged incident occurred in Iraq in 2005 and, if convicted, SSG Martinez could have faced the death penalty. The Army officers were killed when an anti-personnel mine detonated in the window of their room in Iraq.
For a link to the story, and links to the stories leading up to this acquittal, see:
SSG Martinez is apparently the first soldier accused of “fragging” superior officers in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While this may be the first “fragging” court-martial out of the war in Iraq, it is not the first murder trial (court-martial) arising out of that war. Sadly, there have been many.
For example, and in unrelated cases this summer (Army courts-martial not involving “fragging”), attorney Frank J. Spinner and attorney Richard V. Stevens defended two Army NCOs in two separate military trials (courts-martial) in which our clients were accused of the premeditated murders of terrorist insurgents in Iraq (alleged “war crimes”). In verdicts rendered within a week of each other, both clients were found not guilty of all charges (full acquittals).
While reactions to court-martial verdicts can be mixed (and often are), whenever an acquittal (not guilty verdict) in a serious case is arrived at, it shows an accused can get a fair trial in the military justice system.
By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC
Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. Military defense law offices are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Military defense law practices are worldwide.