Attorneys for Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna argue for Supreme Court review

The Supreme Court may decide in a few weeks whether to accept Edmond soldier's case for review to determine parameters for self-defense in combat zones.
by Chris Casteel Modified: May 15, 2013 at 10:35 am •  Published: May 14, 2013

At his trial in 2009, Behenna said he shot Mansur in self-defense after the Iraqi threw a piece of concrete at him and lunged for his weapon.

Two military appeals courts have upheld Behenna's conviction of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the highest military appeals court, ruled last summer that Behenna had effectively lost his right to self-defense in the situation.

“Even assuming for a moment that Mansur could have escalated the level of force, we conclude that a naked and unarmed individual in the desert does not escalate the level of force when he throws a piece of concrete at an initial aggressor in full battle attire, armed with a loaded pistol, and lunges for the pistol,” the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled, by a 3-2 vote.

Behenna is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review that ruling, which, Behenna's attorneys argue deprives soldiers of the right to defend themselves.

The court has scheduled the Behenna case for its May 30 conference to determine whether to grant review. The high court takes only a small fraction of the cases presented.

nDepth: A Mother's Promise
by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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