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Manning's Right to a Speedy Trial Not Violated After 1,000 Days, Judge Rules

Pre-trial hearings move to a full court martial trial in June

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Bradley Manning. (Reuters / Jose Luis Magaua)

Bradley Manning has not had his rights violated while waiting in a cell for almost three years before being granted a trial, judge Colonel Denise Lind ruled in a pre-trial hearing Tuesday.

Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, had argued that the prosecution was guilty of "extreme foot-dragging" and "shameful" lack of diligence, which violated Manning's right to a speedy trial—in a final bid that could have had the charges against Manning dismissed.

A soldier in the military has had his or her speedy trial rights violated when it takes over 120 days before an arraignment, Kevin Gosztola reports at FireDogLake, which is the case for Manning. However, Lind ruled in favor of the prosecution who said some of those days didn't actually count in the speedy trial rule, due to “excludable delays” initiated by the prosecution.

The pre-trial hearings will now be certain to move to a full court martial trial in June.

Saturday marked the 1,000th day Manning has been in military custody without trial, and protesters gathered in 70 locations around the world in solidarity with Manning.

The Guardian adds more detail:

The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, spent two hours reading out her judgment to a pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland. She went through the procedures in preparing for trial in minute detail, concluding that the exceptional length of the case was almost entirely justified as a result of its uniquely complex and sensitive nature. [...]

Under the Rules of Court Martial 707, any member of the military who is prosecuted must be brought to trial – as measured by the date of his or her arraignment – within a "speedy trial clock" of 120 days of being detained. But there are grounds for excusable delays that set back the clock that include the need for counsel to prepare for trial in a complex case, an inquiry into the mental condition of the accused, and the time taken to obtain security clearance for classified information.

In Manning's case, the defense and prosecution agreed that there had been 84 days of diligent work between the soldier's arrest and his arraignment on 23 February 2012. But the two sides were in dispute over 330 days.

Kevin Gosztola is live blogging from the courtroom here.

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