Friday, April 27, 2012
Behenna hearing underway
A government lawyer has told an appeals court that a police officer pointing a gun at a suspect would have no right to self-defense if attacked.
The shocker came in arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the CAAF, during a hearing for 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted of murder after shooting a known terrorist in Iraq who attempted to grab his weapon during an interrogation.
Vicki Behenna, an assistant district attorney and Michael’s mother, said it was evident during the hearing this week the judges were very knowledgeable about the case. “It’s always hard to know what they are thinking, but I think they seemed sympathetic to Michael’s case,” she said. “I believe they were very fair during the hearing and well informed on the case. This leads me to believe that Michael will get a fair review.”
CAAF is a civilian court that oversees the military court system and is supposed to be completely free from all military influence.
Jack Zimmerman, Behenna’s attorney, argued the court should overturn Michael’s 15-year sentence based on several key errors made by the judge and prosecutors.
During the CAAF hearing, the judges appeared skeptical of claims by the government that Behenna had no right to self-defense against Ali Mansur, who lunged at him in an attempt to grab his weapon.
The prosecution had argued that Behenna lost the right to self-defense the instant he pointed his weapon at Mansur and that his only option was to move “away from the victim into the vast expanse of the desert” because it was an unlawful interrogation.
During the hearing, one of the judges questioned this assertion by the government, noting that the same standard would apply in law-enforcement.
“So the government’s view is that if a police officer misunderstands the law and is conducting an interrogation with a weapon, than the police officer has no right to defend himself if the person being interrogated then jumps the officer,” the judge asked. “He has to just sit there and take whatever happens?”
The government lawyer hesitated for several seconds and then said, “Yes, your honor. When a police officer does something unlawful like that, they lose the right to self-defense.”
Kentucky Supreme Court says universities can't ban guns in staff, student vehicles on campuses: "The Kentucky Supreme Court held Thursday that universities may not prohibit employees or students from storing firearms in vehicles parked on campuses because it is “contrary to a fundamental policy, the right to bear arms.” The National Rifle Association hailed the ruling as an important victory for gun owners, while the chief of the University of Kentucky police department said it it was “very disappointing” because it potentially limits the school’s options in safeguarding the campus. The court said UK improperly fired a graduate student who also worked as an anesthesia technician at Chandler Medical Center after a semi-automatic pistol was found in the glove compartment of his car parked on university property."
Why can’t foster parents carry a firearm?: "The foster care agencies' rules about firearms in foster families are understandable -- to a point. The point where safe storage butts-up against the constitution right to keep and bear arms. Bear as in carry. Carry as in protecting the lives and limbs of loved ones. In fact, gun rights and foster care are only incompatible because the state says it's so. Just as anyone who wants to foster knows that discretion -- or submission -- is the better part of valor."
Oklahoma advances open carry, multiple gun bills: "Oklahomans with concealed handgun permits would be allowed to carry their weapons in the open if a bill that easily passed the House of Representatives becomes law. But members defeated an amendment Thursday that would have allowed for the open carry of handguns anywhere without a permit. Senate Bill 1733 would allow anyone with a license to carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act to carry the weapon either openly or concealed. It passed 85-3 and is headed for a conference committee. It also would allow a property owner to openly carry a handgun on his or her land. No concealed-carry permit would be required."