Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"War Objector's Court-Martial Ends In Mistrial" (Corey Moss, MTV News)

As reported by Corey Moss' "War Objector's Court-Martial Ends In Mistrial" (MTV News):

The court-martial of Ehren Watada, an Army lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq, ended in a mistrial Wednesday (February 7) after a judge ruled that the soldier misunderstood a document he signed admitting to some of the charges against him.

(See Watada talk about the charges against him and why he refuses to go to Iraq in this video interview conducted before the mistrial.)

Military judge Lieutenant Colonel John Head, who set a March 12 date for a new trial, ruled that Watada intended to acknowledge that he did not go to Iraq with his unit in June but never meant to admit he had a duty to go there.

The Watada photo is available for public use at this page of the ThankYouLt. site: "Lt. Watada during pre-trial hearing break on Fort Lewis, August 17, 2006. Photo by David Belisle."

Judge Toilet declared a mistrial, while the defense was thought to be ahead. And are we surprised? With the court-martial being postponed until March 12th, that does allow everyone more time to demand their Congressional reps address the war and address Watada.

Some people are bummed because Ehren Watada was thought to be ahead before he even took the witness stand (he never got to testify). Others note that anytime a case results in a mistrial, it can be seen as a victory (momentary or not) for the defense. On the latter, in a civilian court, a mistrial means that the prosecution will often rethink whether or not the case is worth pursuing. That seems unlikely in Watada's case.

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