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US Military Preparing for Soldier Executions?


British, Irish and everything in-between.
DP Veteran
Jan 28, 2005
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Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
Political Leaning

New rules covering the death penalty in military courts suggest the US army may be preparing for its first execution since 1961.

The new rules spell out the procedures for carrying out death sentences imposed at courts martial.
There are six men on death row, all held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Anti-death penalty campaigners fear the new move may pave the way for the execution of Pte Dwight Loving, who was convicted of killing two taxi drivers. The drivers were killed while Loving was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1988. The court of appeals for the armed forces rejected his latest appeal last month. He now has few legal resources left at his disposal. The execution would have to be approved by President George W Bush to go ahead.

Interesting. I never knew soldiers were ever exempt from the Death Pelanty in the US. I'm against capital punishment, but soldiers should be treated like everyone else for their crimes.
Even rape is punishable by death under the UCMJ. U.S. soldiers are not exempt from the death penalty, even though it's not awarded very often.
but soldiers should be treated like everyone else for their crimes

Among the differences between soldiers and civilians are the differences that occur because they can be tried in either civilian courts or military courts depending on circumstances. If they are being tried in a military court, then the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the governing law. If in civilian court, then of course, the civilian rule set applies.

In general, emphasizing that this is a generalization, if someone in the military is accused of committing a crime while in uniform, or on a military reservation, or while in pursuit of his/her duties, trial will be in military court. If not in pursuit of military duties, out of uniform, etc, civilian courts will have jurisdiction.

As for capital punishment, remember that in the US, each individual state has its own rules about the death penalty. Almost all still have it on the books, though some do not enforce it as a matter of policy. Others do. Consequently, there is little uniformity between states about capital punishment.

So it isn't really that soldiers are subject to different laws, its more that they can prosecuted under either military law or civilian law, depending on the circumstances.
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