One of our 3L law student interns who is also an Army veteran made the trek up I-295 today to watch the latest hearing in the strange case of LTC Terrence Lakin, the Army doctor who refused to obey various orders related to a deployment to Afghanistan.
At today's court-martial session, the defense and trial
counsel argued a number of motions. The defense first argued that the military
judge should abate the court-martial until the Army Court of Criminal Appeals
rules on a writ petition the defense inexplicably ("for reasons I can't get into
right now," according to a defense counsel) filed just yesterday, in response to
the military judge's ruling from last month. The defense went on to argue why a
host of documents were discoverable. The defense also attempted to convince the
military judge that several prospective witnesses who were the subject of
prosecution motions in limine were relevant to the defense case. These witnesses
included former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and a retired Air Force
general. The defense sought to qualify these gentlemen as experts in the areas
of constitutional history and military training regarding the chain of command
and obedience to orders, respectively.
The trial counsel argued that
bringing evidence of motivation for refusal to follow the orders was irrelevant
and should be excluded, citing a previous anthrax shot refusal case in which the
military judge did just that. (I'm not sure which case it was, but the case of
another military doctor--Air Force Captain John Buck--comes to mind.)
military judge responded by determining that the orders (Specifications 1-3 of
Charge II) given LTC Lakin were lawful. She continued by taking judicial notice
of an Army regulation regarding orders and ruling that the witnesses who were
the subject of the government motion in limine were precluded from testifying as
experts, although they could end up testifying in sentencing if the case
proceeds that far. Furthermore, the military judge granted the prosecution
motions to prevent the defense from raising irrelevant issues regarding
President Obama's eligibility to serve as the commander-in-chief and LTC Lakin's
motivation for disobeying the deployment orders during the findings phase of the
trial. Again, the motivation might become relevant in sentencing.
this, the civilian defense counsel remarked that this gutted the defense case,
and he had to put on some sort of defense. Apparently, LTC Lakin is chomping at
the bit to testify in his own defense, so that might be the sum total of the
defense case after today's rulings.
The court-martial is set to resume at
Ft. Meade on November 4. Stay tuned for more on this saga.