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Monday, May 05, 2008

Army Noncommissioned Officer Defended by Frank Spinner Found Not Guilty of Premeditated Murder (and Related Allegations) of Iraqi Terrorist Insurgent

On 25 April 2008, after approximately seven hours of deliberation, an Army jury of officers and noncommissioned officers at Wheeler Army Airfield returned a verdict of not guilty to all charges and specifications faced by SFC Trey Corrales. SFC Corrales was accused of premeditated murder, solicitation of murder and obstruction of justice. The alleged victim in the Iraqi terrorist insurgent.

On the mission in question, SFC Corrales and his troops identified Iraqi terrorist insurgents arming an IED in the road near Kirkuk. This sparked an engagement that included a helicopter missile strike at the insurgents. Ultimately, the insurgent at issue escaped into a village in which he was again engaged by the Americans. He died of his wounds a couple days after the engagement, after being medevaced by the Americans.

Testimony in the case indicated that SFC Corrales risked his life during the engagement to ensure that only the insurgents were engaged, and collateral deaths of women and children in the area were avoided.

The defense in the case focused on the credibility of the witnesses, the threat posed by the terrorist insurgent according to the applicable rules of engagement, and what the source of the fatal injuries was.

Unlike other military offenses, premeditated murder has a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment. Therefore, a conviction on the most serious offense would have mandated a life term.

We salute SFC Trey Corrales and his fellow soldiers for their heroic military service in the war on terror - much of which is constantly in an environment of imminent danger. We thank the Corrales family for their sacrifice in loaning SFC Corrales to the nation to defend us, knowing what risk he, and you, were taking in doing so. And, finally, we sincerely thank the Corrales family for the honor of choosing Frank Spinner to represent and defend you.

While this criminal case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case. No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial. For more information on the military justice system, please see our other blog posts.

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.

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