In 2000, the US federal government passed the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act allowing former soldiers, their spouses and contractors to be tried in civilian courts for overseas crimes. In June of this year, a former soldier from the 101st Airborne was convicted of the rape and killing of a 14 year old girl and for killing three of her family members in March 2006. The former soldier is now serving a life sentence.
Since being convicted, the former soldier’s attorneys have appealed to have the law overturned, calling it unconstitutional. The lawyers say that he should have been tried in a military court instead. I wonder, however, what makes the trial so unconstitutional.
According to Section 2 of Article 3 of the US Constitution, “The Trial of all Crimes… shall be by Jury” and “…when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.” As long as this man received a fair trial, it seems that his constitutional rights have not been infringed upon. It is possible that I’m missing some loophole here, but the man was convicted by a jury in a federal court. That much at least seems pretty cut and dry.
To get a better sense of the criminal process and how appeals work, check out this Milwaukee criminal lawyer site. With that in mind, some of you may have some other insight into how this case could be considered unconstitutional. I’m interested to see what you think the grounds for the appeal might be and how well you think this case will fare.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to the US Constitution that might help. Brush up on your law of the land and let me know what your thoughts are.