Military judge drops charges against US Marine in Haditha civilian killings case

[JURIST] A military judge Tuesday dropped charges against a US Marine charged in connection with the November 2005 killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive]. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani [JURIST news archive] had faced court-martial [JURIST report] for dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order based on allegations that he failed to properly investigate the Haditha shootings. Judge Col. Steven Folsom dropped the charges after finding that a decision by Gen. James Mattis [official profile] to press charges may have been unduly influenced by a Haditha investigator who later became Mattis' personal legal adviser. AP has more.

Chessani was the highest ranking of eight Marines initially charged in connection to the Haditha incident, and charges [text] have since been dropped against all but one. The court-martial of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich [defense website], leader of the squad implicated in the killings, was postponed indefinitely [JURIST report] in March. This month, US Marine Corps 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson [defense website; JURIST news archive] was cleared on all counts, including charges that he ordered a subordinate officer to delete photographic evidence [JURIST reports] of the killings.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.