Thursday, March 22, 2012

Death penalty for Staff Sgt. Bales? Not likely.....Would he have been shown this Leniency if he shot down 9 american children?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the death penalty is possible if a U.S. military court finds an Army staff sergeant guilty of gunning down Afghan children and family members. But it is not likely.

History shows that the U.S. military system is slow to convict Americans, particularly service members, of alleged war crimes. And when a punishment is imposed, it can range anywhere from life in prison all the way down to house arrest. Other factors can seem to play more of a role than the crime itself.

In the case of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the suspect in the March 11 Kandahar shootings, legal experts say the 38-year-old married father of two young children could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of the crime, which has threatened U.S.-Afghan relations.

But on his fourth combat tour and with a head injury on his record -- the sergeant remembers little about that night, Bales' lawyer says -- he might well be shown some leniency by the military jury, even if convicted. Read More