Bradley Manning Update

In March of last year, I wrote about the case of Bradley Manning, a man accused of giving troves of classified documents to WikiLeaks. At the time, he and his lawyer were claiming that the Quantico Marine base was holding him in conditions that were unreasonably harsh — not quite solitary confinement, but something similar — and I argued that they had made a good case.

The following month, Manning was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, and his conditions improved. Now, Manning’s trial is near, and at a pretrial hearing Manning has argued that the charges should be dismissed because of the treatment he suffered at Quantico. There’s an excellent writeup of Manning’s testimony here.

In 2010 Manning’s lawyer summarized the relevant law. In military trials, a lawyer may present a case that his client suffered “illegal pretrial punishment,” and judges have wide discretion when it comes to addressing any problems. One common practice, called “Suzuki credit” after a case of that name, is for a judge to award more than one day of credit against any eventual sentence for each day of illegal pretrial punishment. (Manning was held at Quantico for nine months.) The Appeals Court for the Armed Forces has held that judges may dismiss charges outright.

Given the severity of the crimes Manning is accused of, I rather doubt the charges will be dismissed, but some kind of credit might be called for.

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