Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, a U.S. Marine whose war crimes conviction was overturned on appeal, has requested a defense attorney from outside the U.S. Marine Corps to represent him, delaying his arraignment in San Diego. NBC 7's Mari Payton reports.
A U.S. Marine whose war crimes conviction was overturned on appeal wants a defense attorney from outside the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III was scheduled to be re-arraigned Wednesday on charges he led an eight-man squad accused of kidnapping and killing a retired Iraqi policeman from his home in April 2006.
That scheduled re-arraignment was delayed after Hutchins raised an issue of a conflict with his appointed Marine defense attorney.
He made those comments in a courtroom on Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, Calif.
Hutchins claims Marine Corps defense attorneys are all tainted because they work for the USMC command which has "unduly influenced" the case against him.
He will be back in court in two weeks for another hearing on this conflict issue.
Hutchins and his squad were accused of marching the man into a ditch and fatally shooting him in Hamdania, and then staging the body to look like the man had been planting bombs.
After a previous court martial, Hutchins was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
He was freed from the Miramar Brig in July after Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that his constitutional rights had been violated at the time of his arrest.
At the time, he told NBC 7, “I am afraid that any future retrial will be tainted with the unlawful command influence that was a result of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' comments back in 2009.”
The Marine Corps highest Court reversed his conviction last June ruling that a confession Hutchins made while being held in a trailer without legal representation should not have been admitted as evidence.