Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bozicevich is found guilty, but the Army stonewalls

Yesterday, a military court martial found U.S. Army Sergeant Joseph Bozicevich guilty of murdering Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson and Sgt. Wesley Durbin in Iraq in 2008, although the military panel failed to deliver the unanimous verdict necessary to sentence Bozicevich to death. As always, my sincere condolences go to the families of the victims, and I continue to hope that Bozicevich's conviction helps to bring them closer to the justice and peace that they deserve.

Beyond the obvious horror of Bozicevich's crimes, there is one aspect of the court martial that I find jarring, particularly in the face of my lawsuit this spring against the Army for access to trial records from the court martial of my late husband’s accused killer. In the Bozicevich court martial, the Army is now refusing to release the name of an expert witness after the military judge ruled that the expert’s testimony was inadmissible. According to Marisa Taylor of McClatchy Newspapers,

Military Judge Col. Tara Osborn handed down the ruling on the testimony Monday after the prosecution belatedly revealed that the analyst with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory had made a mistake on a proficiency test.

The expert was identified as both Monika and Monica Wilk Garcia in military documents. An Army spokesman said the military doesn't believe her name should be publicized although she had testified in a public court proceeding. As a result, the spokesman refused to confirm the spelling of her first name. [emphasis mine].

So here we see that even after the Army settled my lawsuit against it for its failure to provide names from the trial of my late husband’s accused killer, the Army nevertheless continues to operate as if its attempts to stonewall key names and facts stated in open court is permitted under the law. It is not permitted, and it appears that yet again the Army needs to be made aware of it.

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