Cert petition: right of a soldier to self-defense in combat zone
Petition here. We're getting to where we may have to field armies of lawyers. They'll do little good in combat, but will be able to comply with legal standards while being defeated. Petitioner is a platoon leader, appealing a court martial. His platoon was hit with an IED, suffered two KIAs.
He questioned a suspect, holding a gun on him, and finally threatening him. He testified that when he looked aside, the suspect threw a rock at him and rose up, reaching for his gun. This was disputed; the translator said the first shot was fired while the suspect was "semi-seated." Forensic experts said, however, that the first shot was fired when the suspect was either standing or nearly standing.
Disputed facts, but the court martial ruled that he had no right of self-defense, since he initiated things by pointing a gun at the suspect and threatening him. Thus, even if his story was true he was still guilty. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years.
Here's the government's opposition. It points out that he also stripped the suspect prior to questioning him, and that the translator said he said he killed the suspect because he was involved in several bombings.