Saturday, July 07, 2007

Judge: Army can try Watada again

Ehren Watada

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Trying 1st Lt. Ehren Watada again for his refusal to deploy to Iraq won’t violate his constitutional right not to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, an Army judge ruled Friday.

Watada’s new lawyers, Kenneth Kagan and James Lobsenz, immediately filed notice they will appeal that double jeopardy ruling to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington...

The military judge, Lt. Col. John Head, presided over the first trial in February and ended it after questioning whether Watada understood a pretrial agreement he had signed. Head also refused Friday to disqualify himself from the case...

Lobsenz told the judge he erred in the first trial by not exploring alternatives to calling off the trial midway through. Head ruled against Watada on that issue without comment.

He is expected to issue a written decision early next week. The judge is also expected to rule on admissibility of evidence, including whether Watada may call witnesses to testify about the legality of the war. Head excluded such witnesses in the first court-martial.

Read the rest at Army Times

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