The last arguments by the prosecution and the defense lawyers.
One trying to punish me the other trying to keep me from being slammed with what I rightly deserved.
Both trying to convince the Judge to see things their way.
Two speeches, one decision.
After I talked it was time for the closing arguments.
Judge Colonel Grainger: “Gentlemen, are you ready for arguments?”
Prosecution: “Yes, Your Honor.”
“May it please the court, Your Honor, once again the court is at the point in the trial where it is now your responsibility to weigh all the factors and make the decision on what sentence is appropriate for this particular individual. The government would request that you remember three things when you go into your office to make those deliberations.
The first thing, remember the man here. Remember the man that’s on trial.
This is an individual who had a fantastic family. It would be great for everyone to say that they had a father that would fly half way around the world to be here by our side at a time like this. Statements from his father, and himself indicated that he had a fine upbringing. He had unlimited opportunities in the Army. He came into the service as a Private First Class and he threw it all away.
The question in the government’s mind, Your Honor, is why did he not turn to his family who loves him so much; who, it’s obvious, loves him so much? If he had problems, it would seem that his father and his family is the first place he should turn.
If not his family, then what about the Army that has been so good to him, that has taken him in and trained him, given him a home?
Instead of turning to either his family or his adoptive family, the Army, he turned to drugs. And, in addition to drugs, he turned to money.
That leads to the second point, Your Honor.
Another thing about this man that the government would like you to consider, Your Honor, is the defense that this is an individual who got scared. That’s why he went AWOL. It’s an individual who was scared of the punishment that was coming, rightly so, and instead of appearing here at trial, he went AWOL again.
But, Your Honor, it’s the government’s contention that this is not a scared little kid. This is a tough individual, someone who got involved in what was a very scary and very tough business. And that business — the second point that the government would like you to recall when you go to deliberation — is the business of selling drugs.
This soldier became the middle man. He would drive to Houston, buy drugs, and then would return to sell them in the Fort Polk area — sell them to soldiers — sell them to his fellow soldiers. First he gave them away and then later on, when he had a market, he started to sell the drugs.
And this is not some penny ante pusher. This is a dealer in quantity. If you’ll read the statement from PFC Eddie Gaines, just their association alone resulted in the selling of fourteen hundred hits of LSD in this area in a four to five month period. That’s approximately three hundred units a month of LSD being sold in this area.
The accused himself indicated that every weekend, from August through October, he was in the club in Alexandria selling drugs. And according to Mr. Thundercloud, their information was that he was going through a hundred to a hundred and fifty units every weekend. And what was his profit? He indicated that he was buying these units of LSD for a dollar a piece and selling them for as much as five or six dollars a piece.
This is not someone who didn’t have any idea what he was doing. This is not someone who was selling an unknown. He had taken MDMA; he had taken ecstasy. He knew what LSD did. What do they call it on the street? They call it acid. He was selling acid to his friends and to total strangers — people he didn’t know.
Now Mr. Thundercloud appeared on the stand and indicated that this individual had helped him — or had helped the government in cracking down on drug dealers. But it’s the government’s contention, Your Honor, that this was just another bargain in this businessman’s repertoire. He knew he was in trouble; he had already run from trial once because he was afraid of the punishment he was going to get, and he made a bargain with Mr. Thundercloud in order to get a less severe punishment.
And that leads me to the third point that I would like you to — that the government would like you to remember, Your Honor. And that’s what were here for. What are we trying to accomplish today; what is this court-martial for? In the first place, the government contends that we are here — this court-martial is going to punish the accused, who had committed wrongdoings, not only the AWOL, skipping out on his responsibilities, but more importantly, the use, abuse, and distribution of very harmful drugs in the Fort Polk area and also over in Houston.
But the government also thinks that this court-martial should do justice to the accused. He stated that he wants to be rehabilitated; he stated that he’s ready to come forward now and take his punishment, take the rehabilitation, and then get back to a normal life. The government suggests that he can get very good rehabilitation in a confinement facility in the detention barracks, Fort Leavenworth.
And finally, the government requests that there be a substantial sentence in this case to deter other criminals in this area. By putting David Mike into jail, we will not end the drug problem. The only thing we can do is send out a message to others like him that are selling drugs on this post and in this area. Therefore, the government requests a substantial sentence in this case.
The government feels appropriate would be a sentence of eight years — confinement of eight years — a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and substantial fine. It’s the government’s contention that this individual was unlawfully enriched by his drug dealings; that it may not have been the most lucrative business because he was also taking drugs. But even if you take his suggestion for every one hundred dollars he spent he was making a hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars straight profit. So the government would request a substantial fine.
Thank you, Your Honor.”
I lost my six year pretrial agreement for going AWOL and missing my court-martial.
This lawyer really had a legitimate argument and I was in some serious trouble.
I basically was at the mercy of the Judge. I had no protection, no safety net and I was standing on a wire.
My fate, my future, everything I had left, which was only time, rested in the next statement Captain Jokinen was going to make and how it was going to affect Colonel Grainger’s decision….
Next post, Captain Jokinen gives his closing argument.