Znet: The double jeopardy clause of the US Constitution ensures that no American can be tried twice for the same offense. But at a time when our civil liberties are rapidly eroding, a drama is unfolding in Washington State over whether that constitutional protection applies to a US soldier.
After his February court-martial ended in a mistrial, Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq, seemed certain to face a second court-martial on October 9 at Fort Lewis, an Army base near Tacoma. Three military courts had rejected Watada's claim of double jeopardy, finding no abuse of discretion by the military judge in declaring a mistrial. But in an unusual civilian intervention in a military legal process, US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued a last-minute stay October 5 in Tacoma, temporarily blocking the trial.
Whether or not one agrees with Watada's actions that led to his trial, the rights granted persons within the borders of the United States, by the Constitution and its Amendments, are being eroded further by the actions George Bush's government is taking against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada.