Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NPR: "Why No Death Penalty for Marines?"

On NPR's Morning Edition this morning, Jon McChesney posed the question, "why isn't Pfc. John Jodka facing the death penalty?" referring to the Marine Corps' announcement that the option was "off the table" for Jodka in the case of Marines charged with killing an Iraqi civilian.

The reporter did not have a good answer and stated something about that information not being released at this time. But I had an answer. I knew that it was the hard work and extrem advocacy of criminal defense lawyers like Joey Low whose work behind the scenes persuaded the government to decide against pursuing the ultimate punishment for these young soldiers sent into a quagmire, most of whom before they could legally order a cold one.

Joey Low does not represent Jodka, but represents a co-defendant, Corporal Marshall Magincalda, and this article details how the government declined to seek the death penalty against him on August 30.

It's not often that the government, which is currently in dire need of scapegoats, agrees to such a deal and it's always the result of hard work and strong advocacy. I don't have any idea how these deals came about, but wanted to point out that Mr. Low has had quite a couple of months: being the subject of a Supreme Court case involving the right to counsel and playing a huge role in saving the life of a young Marine facing the death penalty. Truly Amazing.

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