Mistrial in Watada case

[Ed: update: DWE's comment alerted me to my error in the title that indicated a new trial date of March 19. It was initially announced that that was the tentative date. Now that looks less likely.]

I don't know what it all means.  It looks like the government asked for the mistrial based on some problem it has with the "stipulation of facts" that it entered into previous to the trial.  The new date is tentative.  The news reports so far are very short: Reuters: Mistrial Declared.

Anyone know more?

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From Mark Jensen of United for Peace of Pierce County.  What I think Mark is explaining here is that the judge believes Watada misunderstood what he was admitting to in the stipulation of facts -- and therefore the stipulation could not stand.

by noemie maxwell on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 04:21:40 PM PST

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  • March 19th? by DWE, 02/07/2007 05:44:06 PM PST (none / 0)
Well, I'm as startled at the surprise ruling as everyone else.  It almost seems precedent setting somehow, although I'm sure it is not quite a 'precedent' in military court martials. I'm not versed in military court martial judicial protocols to know where this goes next.  Relying on the reports of others, more qualified to know, I've read every account so far and I no more know what will happen next than anyone else.  

Read the accounts, and the differing conclusions and decide for yourselves.  Is it double jeopardy as Watada's defense attorney, Eric Seitz, says and cannot be brought to 'trial' again?  Is it as the Army says and will be brought to court martial again - without stipulation?  Will it mean charges of missing movement only or will the Army try to have the added charges of 'conduct unbecoming an officer' as part of the basis of court martial?  It seems (from what I am reading and hearing) that it was the conduct unbecoming an officer charges that opened the floodgates to 'free speech' rights and putting legality of Iraq war into the defense.

So what will the Army do next?  What will Lt Ehren Watada do next?  For now, it's a wait and see, but certainly an unexpected and seemingly positive development for Ehren.

Eric Seitz,Watada's attorney, on the Watada court martial mistrial(youtube) (2:40)

Carolyn Ho, Watada's mother, comments on the mistrial (youtube)(1:16)

Ann Wright comments on the mistrial (youtube) (1:13)

Eric Seitz calls the Watada court martial "a major mess" (youtube) (:50)

Mistrial could be end of Watada case: Double-jeopardy prohibition might thwart retrial (seattle PI)

Judge declares mistrial in Watada's court martial (KING 5 click on Paul Aker with late developments)

See both the Army's and Lt. Watada's press conference in a long piece at truthout.org

Judge cites statement signed by Iraq war protester, but new trial

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
February 8, 2007

Honolulu Advertiser
February 8, 2007

"Seitz said Watada is "kind of bewildered because this happened suddenly
and basically we spent a lot of (Tuesday) preparing him to testify and he was kind of tired and stressed out because of that.

"But at this point, he's feeling pretty good because, if we're right and the case is dead, he's going to get out of the Army and he's going to go
home soon."

Marjorie Cohn - Media With Conscience News - "Watada Beats the Government"
Marjorie Cohn,is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president of the National Lawyers Guild.

By Jeff Paterson (Gulf War 1 resister)
Courage to Resist
February 8, 2007

On the Surge in Iraq "--we have set the bar so low it's buried in the sand at this point." - Barack Obama

by Lietta Ruger on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 08:33:47 AM PST

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