FORT MEADE, Md. – An Army judge has made it “impossible” for a career medical officer to get a fair hearing on charges he refused to deploy to Afghanistan because of concern that obeying orders in the chain of command under an ineligible commander in chief would be illegal, his attorney says.
The rulings came today from Col. Denise Lind, who, in effect, told Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin to pound sand. Rocks actually. He faces up to four years at hard labor if convicted in his case.
“We got absolutely slammed today,” said Paul R. Jensen, lead counsel for the defense. “It’s impossible for us to have a fair trial under these rulings.”
Jensen continued, “The judge did what she thought was right, but the result is to deprive us of any opportunity to have a defense.”
Lakin believes any order issued under Obama’s authority as commander in chief of the armed forces may not be valid because his eligibility to serve as president is unproven. After fruitlessly requesting the Army to verify Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, Lakin wrote directly to Obama asking for proof of eligibility.
But without a response, Lakin decided it was his duty to refuse an order to deploy with his unit as part of Obama’s Afghanistan surge. As one of the defense briefs states, he “… [took] the distasteful route of inviting his own court-martial.”
Note: A legal-defense fund has been set up for Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. Click for information.
In her decision, Lind, acting as judge in the case, censored the last remaining arguments Lakin planned to make in his defense: motive and duty. Lakin had intended to explain his motive for disobeying the order and contend that it was his duty as a good soldier to disobey orders that he believes to be illegal.
The defense also planned to call as witnesses Ambassador Alan Keyes and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney. Keyes was to explain the constitutional issues involved in the case, and McInerney was to talk about the training soldiers receive regarding when they should question and even disobey orders.
Lind was following up on her rulings from Sept. 2, when she rejected defense plans to introduce evidence concerning Obama’s eligibility. The defense also requested for Lakin’s defense documents referencing Obama’s birth records on file in Hawaii, but Lind refused to allow that either, noting that providing the documents might prove “embarrassing” to Obama.
“Our arms were cut off last time,” said Jensen. “Our legs are being cut off this time.”
In rejecting Lakin’s right to discovery of Obama birth documents, Lind joined a host of other judges – in civilian courts – who have refused to allow plaintiffs suing Obama to obtain his birth records. Jensen told WND he had hoped the court would permit Lakin to go to discovery, because Lakin is the defendant in a criminal case and has the right to mount a full defense.
In objecting to the participation of Keyes and McInerney and the presentation of Lakin’s planned arguments, the prosecution argued that all issues related to Obama’s eligibility, Lakin’s motives and the good-soldier doctrine were “irrelevant.”
“We have to have the opportunity to present some defense!” Jensen countered.
Just before Lind recessed the hearing to prepare her decision, Jensen asked rhetorically whether the government intended to allow him to call any witnesses at all and thundered, “This is all we had left!”
Jensen’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Less than two hours after the court recessed following arguments, Lind returned to the bench to render a lengthy, detailed decision. Reading in a dry monotone, Lind reaffirmed her Sept. 2 decision and ruled out discussions of motive and duty.
Lind, with her rulings, effectively has restricted the scope of Lakin’s trial to what the government wanted: the simple questions of whether the officer had received orders to deploy to Afghanistan and whether he complied.
Neither of these facts is in dispute
But Jensen said the trial will not end the case.
“We will look to appellate courts for justice. With these constraints it’s not possible here,” he said.
When Lind made her earlier rulings, denying Lakin access to potentially exculpatory evidence in his case, Judge Roy Moore, who battled political correctness as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court a decade ago, said Lind has forgotten the Constitution.
Judge Moore, who now operates through the Foundation for Moral Law, has personal experience with challenging the powers-that-be to follow the Constitution. His dispute centered on a Ten Commandments display he put in a state building to recognize the God who inspired the Founders of America. He ultimately was removed from office by those who followed a federal judge’s order that the Ten Commandments be removed without questioning whether it was right.
“The highest law in this country is not the order of the Supreme Court of the U.S., not the order of the commander in chief, or any subordinate officer,” Moore said.
Instead, it is the Constitution, Moore explained, which in Lakin’s case demands that the president be a “natural born citizen.”
There have been dozens of lawsuits and challenges over the fact that Obama’s eligibility never has been documented. The “Certification of Live Birth” his campaign posted online is a document that Hawaii has made available to those not born in the state.
“Lt. Col. Lakin has every right to question the lawfulness of the orders of the commander in chief,” Moore has said.
It doesn’t matter, he said, that orders come from a colonel, or a general or even the Pentagon.
“The same thing applies in the military as in the judicial system,” he explained. “The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it’s not the order of a higher officer, not the order of a judge.”
Lakin has been charged by the Army with missing a movement, disobeying a lawful order and dereliction of duty.
The vehement statements came in an affidavit from McInerney, a Fox News military analyst, that was disclosed by an organization generating support for Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin.
McInerney, who retired in 1994 after serving as vice commander in chief of U.S. Air Force in Europe, commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing and assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, among other positions, said the chain-of-command issue is critical, since officers are obligated both to follow orders and to disobey illegal orders.
“Officers in the United States military service are – and must be – trained that they owe their highest allegiance to the United States Constitution,” he said in the affidavit.
“There can be no question that it is absolutely essential to good order and discipline in the military that there be no break in the unified chain of command, from the lowliest E-1 up to and including the commander in chief who is under the Constitution, the president of the United States. As military officers, we owe our ultimate loyalty not to superior officers or even to the president, but rather, to the Constitution.”
He explained “good order and discipline requires not blind obedience to all orders but instead requires officers to judge – sometimes under great adversity – whether an order is illegal.
“The president of the United States, as the commander in chief, is the source of all military authority,” he said. “The Constitution requires the president to be a natural born citizen in order to be eligible to hold office. If he is ineligible under the Constitution to serve in that office that creates a break in the chain of command of such magnitude that its significance can scarcely be imagined.”
He is board-certified in family medicine and occupational and environmental medicine. He has been recognized for his outstanding service as a flight surgeon for year-long tours in Honduras, Bosnia and Afghanistan. He was also awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan and recognized in 2005 as one of the Army Medical Department’s outstanding flight surgeons.
The controversy stems from the Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
A number of challenges and lawsuits have been based on the constitutional requirement, some alleging Obama does not qualify because he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he claims. Others say he fails to qualify because he was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the United Kingdom when he was born, and the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens from eligibility.
Complicating the issue is the fact that besides Obama’s actual birth documentation, he has kept from the public documentation including his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, Illinois State Bar Association records, baptism records and his adoption records.