Defense Closing Arguments
I did not envy the position of my defense attorney.
After the prosecution’s argument, he had an uphill battle.
Trying to make me look redeemable would be a serious challenge.
There was nothing he could say in my defense, that would take away the fact that I had dug a pretty deep hole for myself.
It seems as if pity would be the only bargaining chip we would have to work with.
Judge Colonel Grainger: “Defense you may proceed”
Captain Jokinen: “Yes, Your Honor. We’re not going to offer you a fish story today, sir, because there’s very little humor involved in this case. We’ve got Private David Mike sitting there who, by his own testimony and his father’s, held a lot of promise. Instead of cracking eggs and frying them in pans on TV and saying ‘This is what drugs do to you,’ perhaps we should show before and after pictures of David Mike.
Because that’s why he’s here today.
The good thing about David Mike is that we know that he was at one time a good person. It’s clear he had a solid upbringing and a good value system. When he was initially at Fort Polk he was solid. He was not a substance abuser of any type. And then in a momentary lapse of reason he turned to drugs.
Now he probably had a lot of legitimate friends floating around that he could have associated with himself. But instead, he was introduced to the drug ecstasy which produced a bunch of chemical friends for him. Total strangers suddenly appear to be very concerned about you. Everybody is your friend. There are no problems anymore. The feeling was what he needed at that point in time. He got it through drugs. Not the right source but he got it nonetheless. And once he started with that feeling, he wanted to continue it. It led him down the road to where he stands today.
As Mr. Thundercloud pointed out, he was a problem. Private Mike has detailed for you today, he knows he was a problem. He’s freely admitted that he can’t even recall every time he handled drugs; in part, the number, and in part he was medicated the whole time he was gone. He was medicated while he was here at Fort Polk.
The testimony of Sergeant First Class Trey Smith talks about a soldier, who shows up pale, falls asleep at duty. This wasn’t a guy concerned about the Army anymore; he was concerned about keeping the high going.
The evidence has also shown that throughout this he always maintained contact with his family. And that contact is, we would offer, a rope. Because in the war on drugs Private Mike could have been an MIA and he could have been a KIA. It was that rope to his family that finally pulled him back. They kept talking to him and they wanted to find out what was going on. They maintained that contact despite the fact it was putting them personally through hell. The dropped phone receiver… Was he in danger? Did that mean somebody killed him? What happened?
Private Mike is back to us now, albeit he was apprehended, but he is back. And what we know about Private Mike is that if you brush him off — and it’s going to take some time to do that. It’s going to take some time to get back to the Private Mike that lived in Zweibruecken, Germany with his family. There’s a good person there.
Private Mike, by his own admissions, has got a drug problem and he does need help. It wouldn’t be fair to him if it was even considered to release him, simply because he’s not over it. He developed over a short period of time a strong chemical dependency. And it’s going to take a period of deprivation, as well as counseling and psychiatric intervention, to get him back. And for that reason we would concur that confinement is appropriate in this case, Your Honor.
Now as far as his assistance to CID, clearly if Private Mike would have done things up front he wouldn’t be here today probably. But he didn’t because he was happy with his chemically induced friends. Everybody’s your buddy; they all come up to you — kinda like you’re the candy man and everybody is going to play up to you; you’re their friend. And he was scared and he took off. But he’s now back. And once he came back he did do things for them.
And you heard Mr. Thundercloud testify that as far as cooperation; he’s unrivaled. He did and told everything that he could. Productivity? He did pretty well. He’s not the best here at Fort Polk but he went beyond most everybody else. He gave names. He went out there, he made the introductions. He took two people in the tier out of the system. Unfortunately, they’ll probably be replaced. But for the time being they’re gone.
In evaluating Private Mike, sir, we ask you to concentrate on three factors.
First, his candor. He plead guilty to diverse occasions. He told you about diverse situations. There was no holding back. The only restraint was perhaps his ability to clearly recall. And that’s about it.
Two, when you look back in time you see a Private Mike that was a productive citizen and had potential. You have a foundation — the correctional process has a foundation upon which to build up a productive citizen again. Many times the people who pass through here don’t have any foundation. There’s nothing to work with. This young man has a lot to work with. It’s going to take some time to get back there.
And third, the fact that he did, in his own way, try to balance the books by helping CID. Did he do it? No. But he made a valiant effort. He provided them with information that helped them, not only off post but on post. Due to his efforts they came up with a case on a commissioned officer who was using and distributing drugs.
With that in mind, Your Honor, defense would submit that an appropriate sentence in this case would be confinement for a period of forty-two months, a bad conduct discharge, in the sense that his efforts with CID were mitigating factors. As far as reduction in rank and forfeiture, the soldier needs no money. He’s going to be in a place where he’s taken care of, where he’s reshaped, where they get back down to the foundation to make him a productive member of society again.
As for a fine, Your Honor, we would argue against a fine. The only way you would get the profits that were realized by Private David Mike would be if you could squeeze the burned synapse of his mind and get whatever is left from the drugs that caused that condition to happen.
Thank you very much, Your Honor.”
Judge Grainger said “The court is closed.” and then left the court-room to go decide my fate.