Government to argue speedy trial doesn’t apply to Bradley Manning

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. Updated November 5, 2012

Due to Hurricane Sandy, this motion hearing was moved from October 30-November 2 to November 7-8. This means it has been cut in half to two days: part of the hearing will proceed as scheduled, and the rest will continue in the next hearing, November 27-December 2, when the defense will argue its motion to dismiss for unlawful pretrial punishment. The defense’s portion of the speedy trial motion remains scheduled for December 10-14.

As Army Private First Class Bradley Manning nears 900 days in jail without trial, his lawyer moves to dismiss all charges for lack of a speedy trial. Beginning Wednesday, November 7, the government’s witnesses will try to explain away the prosecution’s extensive delays. Meanwhile, over 14,000 supporters of Bradley Manning have now donated to his defense fund—over the last three weeks alone raising $50,000 during a matching grant challenge by the Brightwater Fund.

Bradley’s constitutional rights deprived 

When Bradley Manning returns to Ft. Meade on Wednesday, November 7, he’ll have spent nearly 900 days in jail awaiting court-martial trial. That’s almost two and a half years wondering whether he’ll be spending the rest of his life in jail, and whether he’ll get to see the “debates, discussions, and reforms” that chat logs suggest he sought. That’s two and a half years too long. 

Bradley’s lawyer, David Coombs, will argue his most recent motion to dismiss charges with prejudice for lack of a speedy trial, which denounces and seeks accountability for the government’s inaction, unjustifiable delays, and sheer disregard for PFC Manning’s constitutional rights (1). RCM 707 affords 120 days from arrest to arraignment, but Bradley was arraigned nearly two years after his arrest in May 2010. UCMJ Article 10 compels the prosecution to act diligently and expediently, yet the government was inactive or needlessly slow for months prior to Bradley’s first pretrial hearing.

Judge Denise Lind and the parties have agreed to bifurcate this speedy trial motion: on November 7 and 8, the government will bring its witnesses to testify. But the defense won’t be able to argue its portion of the motion until the December 10-14 hearing, which comes after the Article 13 motion to dismiss based on Bradley’s conditions at Quantico, which Coombs will litigate November 27-December 2. By that time, Bradley will have surpassed 900 days in jail without trial.

Government witnesses

Next week, the government will call three witnesses to the stand, to attempt to account for the several pre- and post-arraignment delays that have protracted Bradley’s proceedings. The defense had also requested two of these witnesses, Col. Carl Coffman and Master Sgt. Monica Carlile.

Carl Coffman is the Special Court Martial Convening Authority for Bradley’s pretrial proceedings, so he signed off on almost all of the government’s delays, marking them as excludable from the speedy trial clock. In January, Coffman denied the defense’s request to depose nine essential witnesses, including Defense Sec. Robert Gates and State Secretary Hillary Clinton, citing the “difficulty, expense, and/or effect on military operations outweighed the significance of the expected testimony.” Coombs derided this decision as “yet another example of the government improperly impeding the defense’s access to essential witnesses” (2).

Coffman is expected to explain why he signed off on the government’s delays, and why they were excluded from the speedy trial clock.

Monica Carlile was a paralegal at the Office of the Staff Justice Advocate in the Military District of Washington (apparently before she was promoted to Master Sergeant), when she signed one of the government’s delays for Coffman. Carlile is expected to explain why she signed off on that delay, why it was excluded from the speedy trial clock, and her authority to sign in Coffman’s place.

Third is Bert Haggett, whom the prosecution deems a classification expert and whom the Army cites as an Information Security Point of Contact. Kevin Gosztola writes that the government will call Haggett to testify to “how long it takes to clear documents requested by defense for discovery evidence. He apparently worked on a classification review of the unclassified portion of the Army CID investigation into Manning.”

With these witnesses, the government will try to show that it had no choice but to wait nearly two years to arraign PFC Manning, and that the mere scope of information and lengthy classification review process takes a long time. But Coombs’ motion preempts those arguments multiple times, noting that the government has vastly more resources than the defense to wade through these myriad documents, and that the prosecution both didn’t need to wait for the reviews to go to trial and didn’t sufficiently pressure the Original Classification Authorities to conduct the reviews more quickly.

Support grows despite government delays

Suspending the pretrial process is only to the government’s advantage. The defense is paid by grassroots donations from around the world, and two and a half years of delays have pushed legal expenses to nearly $250,000.

But Bradley’s supporters have countered this effort in inspiring ways. The Brightwater Fund recently announced that it would match donations to the defense fund dollar for dollar up to $50,000, and we’ve surpassed that goal already, now up to $55,000 and counting (3). That number will continue to rise this week, as rock-and-roll legend Graham Nash will perform in Santa Monica, CA, and ticket proceeds from that event will go to the Bradley Manning Support Network (4).

When Bradley Manning’s court-martial trial finally gets underway on February 4, 2013 – if it isn’t delayed yet again – he’ll have been imprisoned for nearly 1,000 days. This trial is anything but speedy, and the government has thus far enjoyed total immunity for violating Bradley’s basic rights. It’s long been time for that to change.

Footnotes:

  1. The government has made an “absolute mockery” of Bradley Manning’s right to a speedy trial
  2. David Coombs’ blog post on Col. Coffman rejecting his request for government witnesses
  3. Brightwater Fund to match donations to the Bradley Manning Support Network
  4. Graham Nash to perform in support of Bradley Manning

 

12 thoughts on “Government to argue speedy trial doesn’t apply to Bradley Manning

  1. “Government to argue speedy trial doesn’t apply to Bradley”

    Wrong. The Constitution doesn’t have a Off switch. These fascists persecuting a whistleblower are the REAL criminals here.

  2. Well, one of the many reasons I won’t be voting for Obama, is his way to interpret the law and a la tea partier, he manipulates the Constitution to fit his criminal agenda while trying to be for law and order.
    You would expect him to go after true war criminals and not just perceived war criminals, but confessed war criminals, but not, he decides to let war criminals roam free, while prosecuting those who putting their careers and lives at risk try to protect the Constitution. Something is rotten in Denamrk, oops, America. War criminals roaming free while heroes are risking going to prison for life for defending the honor of America, the Constitution. I want my Constitution back!

  3. Is the US branch of Amnesty International doing anything about all this? I’ve been pestering them in this country, and now at last they tell me there is nothing they can do as long as there is no verdict … [???]

    • Don’t expect anything useful out of Scamnesty International….Bradley Manning is a white boy and that won’t make muster on Scamnesty. They would be boots on the ground for the likes of Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver but never a white boy who stands for the Constitution.

    • Amnesty International is nothing but a mouthpiece for the US Empire as clearly shown by their support for NATO atrocities in Afghanistan, their help in demonizing Libya, Syria and whatever other country is on the Imperial Hit-List at the time, while remaining silent to the crimes of the empire and it’s vassal states.

    • I don’t think what they told you is correct.

      I receive emails constantly from AI US branch. Few months ago, they protested that Russia prosecuted a female musical band- Pussy Riot, for the song they performed at a cathedral, and that’s the time before the guilty verdict was made.

      They also protest the unlawful detention as well as the permanent running of Guantanamo bay, which have nothing to do with verdicts.

      What we want to protest is the right of speedy trial was gone, which also has nothing to do with verdicts.

      Therefore, I feel that they should be able to do something about the Bradley Manning case.

      However, I am losing some confidence of AI US branch for its recently supporting on military intervention in Syria. It seems like they have amnesia. They just published a report on Libya about the atrocities after the end of NATO military intervention, which just again proves that the so called humanitarian intervention was a pure lie and a fiasco.
      I also wrote several times to them protesting for their partial report on Syria conflicts.

  4. Give Private Bradley Manning a fair and SPEEDY trial as is his right under our Constitution! To refuse to do so makes those in charge of his court martial no better than totalitarian dictators.

  5. Shows just what a pelagic cess pool of bottom dwelling ooze has completely saturated our body politic….corpse politic to be more precise. From a nation that supposedly put two men on the moon to one that put a family of baboons in the White House…now we are cursed with a Demander-n-Thief who cradles his scrotum during the playing of the National Anthem. America is clearly finished.

    • …and those who support the criminals, will easily find themselves in the same boat. once that reality sets into the masses, IT’LL BE TOO LATE!

  6. Join The Smedley Butler Brigade-Veterans For Peace, Their Friends & Allies On Veterans/Armistice Day Sunday November 11th In Boston For An Anti-War March And Program

    All Are Welcome. Come join us to celebrate Veterans/ Armistice Day, really an International Peace Day on Sunday November 11th for a march and other activities.
    Forming up for the parade at noon at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street (just up from Cheers at the entrance to the Boston Common).

    VFP Pavilion at Faneuil Market (Samuel Adams Park) from 11 AM -4 PM. Volunteers needed to set up the pavilion and staff during the parade.

    VFP Program at Faneuil Market starts after parade finish (approximately 2:00 PM but is contingent on the finish of the official parade) with speakers, singers and bands (about 30 to 45 minutes, the shorter the better)-This year’s highlighted issues-No War On Iran- Freedom For Private Bradley Manning.

    We will be leafleting during the day at various places in the downtown Boston area (including the Armed Forces Recruiting Station on Tremont Street and other sites TBA) handing out handbills highlighting our two main issues- Iran and Bradley Manning.
    Come help set up and staff the pavilion at Faneuil Market. Help leaflet. Help swell our numbers. Bring fellow VFPers and other supporters. Report this event to your local newspapers and tell them you will be there to aid our publicity campaign. More later as our plans firm up.

  7. The government does, what the government wants all too often. One thing the government can not do, is undo all of what Bradley has contributed to world dialogue. I know we all hope for the best, I do every day… but realize what’s been done. So much information that was kept in the dark, so many eyes opened. Hell I think the only reason we are out of Iraq is because of him. Ask yourself would you do what he did no matter the outcome. It’s hard… but he’s a hero of the highest rank.

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