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Today's trial: What's Lakin defense strategy? Attorney hopeful Army officer can avoid prison, support family

UPDATE:   Court martial convicts Lakin on 4th count

Jury panel returns guilty verdict on most serious charge

 

(The update new article follows the text of this original post) 

Posted: December 13, 2010
8:59 pm Eastern

by Brian Fitzpatrick
 

WASHINGTON – Defense attorney Neal Puckett acknowledges chances of acquittal for Army Lt. Col. Terry Lakin are remote, so he's shifting to a new battleground: limiting the punishment.

Lakin, whose court martial begins today at Ft. Meade, Md., disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan to force President Obama to produce his birth certificate and other documents that might establish whether he is a "natural born citizen," the constitutional requirement for any president.

Puckett will be trying to persuade the jury to view Lakin as a man of principle, not as a disobedient soldier.

In an interview selected as Video of the Day by the Western Center for Journalism, Puckett said his goal during the court martial will be to "minimize the punishment" the Army will mete out to Lakin for disobeying orders.

"What we're aiming for, for Lt. Col. Lakin, is … to convince the jury on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week to let him go home and spend the holidays with his family and not send him to jail. And I think that's a possible outcome," said Puckett.

Puckett called on Lakin's supporters to start thinking about what will happen to the decorated flight surgeon after the court martial.

"If he loses his career in the Army, and if by losing his career in the Army his career as a doctor is put into jeopardy, he still has to support his family financially," Puckett said.

"If he is viewed as a hero by some for taking a stand, and he has to suffer because of that, people need to think, 'Because he did that for me, what can I do for him?'"

 

 

After requesting assignment to a combat unit so he could serve in Afghanistan, Lakin was required in his orders to produce his birth certificate. According to Puckett, Lakin's conscience was troubled when he realized Obama, the man responsible for sending American servicemen to Afghanistan, has never produced his own birth certificate.

Lakin deliberately disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because of doubts that Obama is eligible to occupy the Oval Office.

"He's stuck in a situation where he has disobeyed military orders, those orders issued from military authority, and the army is not allowing him to look beyond that," said Puckett. "That's why he's going to court martial. He is going to be found guilty of some, but not all of these offenses I believe, then he will be subjected to some kind of punishment. Our job will be to minimize that punishment and allow him to move forward in a way that is not damaging to his family."

Puckett characterized Lakin's disobedience as "courageous" and an act of "civil disobedience."

"He acknowledges responsibility for his decisions he made and he's made them courageously. He's sort of engaging in classic civil disobedience. He's saying 'I am acting in accordance with my conscience. My conscience will not let me do this unless I find out certain information.' He knew from the very beginning this could cause him personal harm, That's true courage. It's moral courage, it's physical courage. You have to admire him for that.

"The goal we would all like to have is to be acquitted of charges, but sometimes the evidence or the facts or the circs don’t allow for that," said Puckett. "The next level of defense for someone who cannot be acquitted under the evidence is to achieve the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

"The prosecution is really out to get him," Puckett added. "They really trumped up the charges higher than they needed to be."

 

.

Source > http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=239389

~ DttNWO ~  Ecclesiastes 3:3

 

UPDATE:

Court martial convicts Lakin on 4th count Jury panel returns guilty verdict on most serious charge

 

~ DttNWO ~  Ecclesiastes 3:3

 

Posted: December 15, 2010
11:50 am Eastern

by Brian Fitzpatrick
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

 

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WASHINGTON – Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, the officer who raised questions about Barack Obama's eligibility to be president only to be struck down by a military court's banishment of evidence about his concerns, has been convicted of the most serious charge he faced, missing a flight scheduled to take him to a new assignment.

Lakin was convicted yesterday by Judge Denise Lind on three counts of disobeying orders during the first day of his court martial. The court-martial panel deliberated this morning on the last count, a charge he missed his flight to report for duty.

Lakin had pleaded guilty to four counts related to disobeying orders yesterday, but one count was subsequently dismissed by Lind at the request of Lakin's counsel, Neal Puckett. Lakin was convicted then of two counts of failing to obey orders to meet with his commanding officer and one count of failing to report as ordered to Fort Campbell, Ky., to join the 101st Airborne Division prior to the unit's deployment to Afghanistan.

Unlike the civilian legal system, a military court can immediately convict any defendant who pleads guilty to a crime.

The possible penalties include dismissal as well as up to 42 months in prison.

 

Lakin openly admits he willfully chose to disobey orders to deploy to Afghanistan over concerns that his orders were not lawful. Lakin is not sure whether President Barack Obama is a legitimate commander-in-chief of the armed forces because Obama has failed to prove he is eligible under the U.S. Constitution to occupy the Oval Office.

Lakin deliberately exposed himself to a court martial in the hope of forcing Obama, during the "discovery" process, to prove he is eligible to serve as president by producing identity documents including his birth certificate.  Lakin hoped the documents would establish whether Obama is a "natural born Citizen," as required of any American president by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

As reported earlier by WND, Puckett acknowledged the convictions were inevitable after Lind denied Lakin the right to discovery, and forbade the defense from producing any evidence or experts who might persuade the court martial panel, a jury of Army officers, that Lakin's deliberate disobedience of orders was justifiable.

Even before the trial, Lakin admitted he had knowingly disobeyed orders. In fact, he warned his military commanders that he intended to disobey orders to deploy to Afghanistan as part of Obama's surge strategy in order to force the Army to put him on trial.

Puckett announced last week that his goal, under the circumstances, no longer was to have Lakin acquitted, but to persuade his court-martial panel not to send him to prison.

During the review of panelists, Puckett made a point of asking potential jurors whether they believed an Army officer could ever justifiably disobey orders.

Puckett's defense of the fourth count, missing movement, centered on the technical point that Lakin did not violate Article 87 of the UCMJ by missing the particular flights he was supposed to take from the Washington, D.C., area to Kentucky.

"Was there a duty to be on that flight?" the defense counsel asked the court martial panel. "To find him guilty, [the prosecution] must show he had a duty to make the flight."

Puckett repeatedly has challenged prosecution witnesses to show where, in Lakin's orders, he was directed that it was his "duty" to take the specific US Air Flight 1123.

"I'm very happy with the trial so far," Puckett told WND last night, though his client already had been convicted of three counts of disobeying orders.

Other observers in the courtroom were critical of Puckett's strategy.

Orly Taitz, one of the attorneys spearheading the legal efforts to compel Obama to produce his birth and citizenship documents, criticized the strategy of conceding guilt on three charges.

"Even if you beat the fourth charge, what have you gained?" Taitz argued. "He's still facing 18 months in prison, loss of retirement benefits and dismissal from the service."

Taitz acknowledged that Puckett's hands are tied by Lind's earlier rulings effectively forbidding what might be the most effective line of defense, the argument that any order originating with Obama might in fact be illegal as long as Obama's eligibility remains unproven.

"He's reduced to arguing a technicality," Taitz told WND. "The whole trial is a sham, a farce. They're not allowed to discuss the only real issue here, Obama's eligibility."

Retired Navy Lt. Commander Charles Kerchner, the plaintiff in an eligibility suit recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, doubts that justice will be done in Lakin's court martial.

"They have not allowed him discovery and exculpatory evidence, which the Constitution affords all of us," said Kerchner. "I don't know what legal rabbit [the defense is] going to pull out of a hat but they're obviously planning something."

Lakin's brother, Dr. Greg Lakin, was more upbeat about Puckett's defense strategy.

"[Puckett] wants to focus on the big issue here," Greg Lakin told WND. According to Lakin, Puckett chose to concede the smaller matters in order to direct the court martial panel's attention on the "missing movement" charge, which is most closely linked to Obama's personal authority because it ties directly to the order to deploy to Iraq as part of Obama's surge strategy.

"The president has taken full credit for the Afghanistan deployment, he signed the order," said Greg Lakin. "Terry will have a chance to say his piece during the sentencing portion of the trial."


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