Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green's War Crimes sentence hearing continues

You could see the emotion growing in Simolke's face and demeanor. He spoke of Steven, Doug, and Danny not having many rules. When asked about Doug's "being tough" on Steve, he testified that "Doug...was hard on Steve...(pause) felt like that...wore on Steve. Doug was sort of..." At this point, Dr. Simolke broke down crying and had to pause for a few minutes to regain his composure. He was given some water and he continued. "Doug was sort charge, but he was too young to manage Steve." Bouldin asked what his(Simolke's) thoughts were on Green and he "generally..I felt sorry for Steve. I felt that he wasn't completely normal....nothing drastic or super unusual...he was generally left out [throughout] his life. (pauses...more tears) Nothing ever worked out for him, he had a black cloud hanging over him..(pause)..I just didn't think life was workin' out for him." During all of this, Green was noticed staring straight ahead.
Simolke testified that he wouldn't have called Steven Green a leader. "No....I don't want to be offensive...he wasn't a leader...anyone who knows Steve wouldn't say he was. He's a follower." Simolke testified about Green living with him for a few months, maintaining a C-average, before realizing that he was so far behind in school that wouldn't be able to graduate high school that year with the rest of his classmates; after which dropping out and moving back to his hometown of Midland, TX where he got his GED.

The above is Evan Bright reporting on the sentencing phase of Steven D. Green's War Crimes trial in "Combat Incapable". Dr. Greg Simolke, Green's uncle, is among three witnesses testifying today. Simolke approaches what the defense should have been doing all along but didn't and they didn't even get it right yesterday. Simolke should have been kept on the stand the entire day. Instead they included Dr. Ruben Gur who offered 'expert' testimony on an MRI.

Does the defense have one damn clue? An MRI? Guilt's already been established on every charge. Simolke is speaking of things he observed. An MRI really pushes the desperation envelope and makes the jury less sympathetic to Green because it seems like such a weasel move. 'We don't have any sound grounds so let's toss up this man who doesn't know Green but will tell us about an MRI!'

Simolke should have been kept on the stand and should have been asked, "Why are you crying? What are you thinking of?"

This isn't where you get "Green cleared of all charges!" He's been found guilty. The defense's half-assed strategies were responsible for that and they seem even more foolish in the sentencing.

The jury has convicted him. The only thing left is the sentencing. No one needs 'experts' who've never dealt with Green on the stand. You put his family up there. You can't put him up there because he's been sentenced and even if he doesn't have an outburst, he'll look pathetic and the jury's attitude will be, "Look at him pleading for his life after he killed those four people."

The uncle was the best bet. Maybe they've got the mother on the list of witnesses to call? If so, let's hope they offer more than "she worked at night." And let's hope that bit of testimony, that effort to blame Green's actions, didn't backfire with members of the jury.

This is nonsense, the defense is doing a very poor job. 'Expert' witnesses are for the trial, not for the sentencing. When you trot them through a sentencing, it appears you're trying to snowball a jury.

This is the opening of Deborah Feyerick's report for CNN:

Defense lawyers trying to save their client from the death penalty argued Tuesday that former U.S. soldier Steven Green exhibited clear symptoms of acute stress disorder in Iraq and that a military psychiatric nurse-practitioner failed to diagnose the troubled infantryman and pull him out of combat.

And that first sentence is how the jury see is, trying to save their client from the death penalty. So you need people who know Green. Every 'expert' you put up there makes little difference. This isn't the trial, it's the sentencing. This is actually an embarrassment. The defense is a joke. They say they want to save their client from the death penalty but they're doing little to prove that. The uncle made an impression. But the defense should have really forced that testimony. And the jury should have heard many more examples of Green's childhood. Those examples exist. I noted yesterday that the press has never really told the story of Green's childhood and there were some e-mails on that to the public account.

I'm not referring to this month or last. When Green was arrested, there was a flurry of press about his young adult run-ins with the law. That's back in 2006. His problems go back further than that and the jury needs to hear those problems. If they heard about them, they'd be likely to give him life imprisonment.

Like Evan Bright, Brett Barrouquere (AP) has covered every day of the trial and of the sentencing (and Barrouquere has been covering this story for nearly three years).
In his coverage of the sentencing hearing yesterday, he emphasizes UC of San Francisco's Dr. Pablo Stewart:

Stewart, testifying for Green's defense, said Lt. Col. Karen Marrs gave Green a sleep medication and sent him back into combat.
"Her work with Pfc. Green ... does not meet the acceptable standard of care," Stewart said.

Again, you have an 'expert' who has no ties to Green. Why is on the stand? Why wasn't the uncle asked to elaborate on the childhood and on what memory had him crying? Because the defense wanted to snow the jury with 'experts'. The jury doesn't give a damn about experts. They've already found Green guilty on every count. Now they're interested in whether he should die or not and that's going to require them knowing him. They're not going to get to know him via a bunch of 'experts' who don't know Green.

In today's Los Angeles Times, Deanne Stillman reviews Helen Benedict's The Lonely Soldier:

Few people outside the military had ever heard them. But even if the female recruits had caught these rhymes, it might not have mattered. For women enter the military for the same reasons men do: to escape a dead-end life, it's a job or simply because they are patriotic and want to serve. Yet as Helen Benedict documents in her important, finely drawn book, "The Lonely Soldier," many find out they're fighting two wars: the one against the official enemy and the one against their male compadres. To use military jargon, the situation is "FUBAR" -- and shows no sign of letting up.
The statistics alone tell the harrowing story: As Benedict reports, "women comprise 14 percent of all active duty forces, 11 percent of soldiers deployed to the Middle East, and over 17 percent of the National Guard and reserves. In 2003, a survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all the wars since, who were seeking help for PTSD, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving." According to the Department of Defense, these numbers are lower, but as Benedict notes, in the military culture of sucking it up and punishing whistle-blowers, women do not always file official reports.
To give a face to this war, Benedict includes portraits of five women who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2006 -- a broad range of the population, not because the author went out of her way to present diversity but because, in the military, that's the way it is (at least more so than in other areas of society).

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends