U.S. court tosses murder conviction of Blackwater guard Nicholas Slatten in massacre of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/04/blackwater-slatten-un-murderer.html


#2

Curiously, the same court has no problem with death penalty for “urban Americans” who are convicted of single deaths and contested circumstances.


#3

Martin Shkreli goes in as Nicolas Slatten gets out.

Timing is everything.


#4

Well Blackwater are kind of like police right? Uniforms… guns… they’re the good guys!


#5

Plus they said they were in fear for their lives so yeah…maybe call in an airstrike and level the whole town…some of Cheney’s asshole buddy’s through an incestuous relationship with Halliburton …some more good guys.


#6

News reports about court rulings are very often misleading, if not flat-out wrong. For that reason, all reporting about court orders/rulings should include a link to the court’s ruling. Since Reuters did not manage to do that, here is the actual
Court Ruling. The facts considered by the Court start at page 4.

I skimmed over the order (which is 119 pages) which was (apparently) the result of a joint appeal filed by several defendants (I’m not discussing the other defendants here). Slatten’s conviction was overturned, but this does not mean that he can just walk away. To quote from page 87 of the order, “we vacate defendant Nicholas Slatten’s first degree murder conviction and remand for a new trial.” This means that Slatten’s case goes back to the trial court for an entirely new trial.

The Court’s decision was based on procedural defects at the trial court level (which I am happy to discuss further if anyone is interested). The Court’s ruling absolutely does not mean that Slatten has been found “not guilty” or anything like it. Further, having defended persons accused of murder at trial (although never in Federal Court, and certainly not under military jurisdiction), a second bite at the apple after a guilty verdict is always a great thing, but it is far from a sure thing that a better outcome can be obtained in round two (see the recent multiple trials of the former sheriff of Los Angeles for a recent example).

While I don’t know enough about this case to take any position on whether this is the correct outcome (not that it matters, since it is going back to the trial court)–I do believe that prosecutors have more than enough power as it is and anytime a conviction is overturned on procedural grounds (which is incredibly rare), it should be seen as a victory for our democracy even where the person who actually benefited may not be sympathetic.


#8

So, as far as the legal profession is concerned, this is the tax-payer funded gift that keeps on giving?


#9

it should be seen as a victory for our democracy even where the person who actually benefited may not be sympathetic

Viewed in context, though, this does not require a new trial-- the decision for prosecuting this case again rests, I believe, with the Justice Department of the current administration. The case will be dropped, and there will be no new trial.

ETA: is it a victory for democracy when a president who lost the popular vote delivers impunity for murder?


#10

I’m wondering why this trial was in the US instead of Iraq, wouldn’t they have jurisdiction here? I understand the political reasons for the trial being here, just wondering what the legal rationale was.


#12

People will remember this in they same way we think of Americans committing mass murder against natives while invading what is now western American.


#13

The war in Iraq?


#14

I don’t see why the snark guys. The other thread told me that anyone who has ever killed for American Freedom is to be lauded.


#15

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39159-2004Jun13.html

The US declared their soldiers and mercenaries exempt from Iraqi law as soon as they conquered the place. Accountability is for other people.


#16

Roland the headless Thompson gunner looks on.


#17

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