In the Military
Watada trial hung up in federal court
It was two years ago yesterday that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate, declared publicly that he would not deploy to Iraq with his Stryker brigade combat team. Today, Watada is still in the Army working at a desk job at Fort Lewis, Wash., while his case is tied up in federal court.
Ken Kagan, Watada's attorney, told the Star-Bulletin that federal judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma will probably take up the matter early this fall. In November, Settle ruled that no court-martial will be held for Watada pending the outcome of his claim that it would violate his Fifth Amendment rights by trying him twice for the same charges.
Watada, who contends the war is illegal, is charged with missing his unit's deployment to Iraq on June 22, 2006, and with conduct unbecoming an officer for denouncing President Bush and the war. If convicted, he could be sentenced to six years in prison and be dishonorably discharged. Since then, his unit fought in Iraq for 18 months and returned in October
Kagan said he expects the case to eventually go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where it may take up to three years before a decision is rendered. "Our experience has shown us that 9th Circuit matters consume somewhere between 18 months to three years," Kagan said. "I don't know of any reason they would put it on some fast track."
Watada's first court-martial ended in a mistrial in February 2007. Settle wrote that the military judge likely abused his discretion in declaring the mistrial. Watada's term of service in the military ended December 2006, but the legal proceedings have prevented his discharge.
Ten nations will participate in this year's biannual Rim of the Pacific naval war games in the Hawaii from June 29 to July 31. RIMPAC is a multinational exercise designed to prepare forces for potential joint operations and missions. RIMPAC has been conducted since 1971. This year's exercise consists of 10 nations, 35 ships; including an aircraft carrier; six submarines, more than 150 aircraft and 20,000 military personnel. Units from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom and the U.S. are scheduled to participate. Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear is the Combined Task Force commander responsible for overall exercise coordination.
>>Cmdr. Alvin Holsey has assumed command of the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 37 (HSL-37), relieving Cmdr. Brian Teets.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com