WASHINGTON – Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, a distinguished Army flight surgeon, is “certain” to be convicted of disobeying orders, according to his lawyer, Neil Puckett.
Lakin will go on trial December 14 for refusing to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan. The senior officer questioned the legal validity of his orders because they originate ultimately with President Barack Obama, whose eligibility to serve as commander in chief under article II of the U.S. Constitution remains unproven.
“Based on the evidence available, his conviction is certain,” Puckett told WND. “He has no affirmative defense for the offenses he committed.”
“There is not much left to do” in defense of his client, Puckett said. Lakin’s previous defense counsel, Paul Jensen, already “sought discovery of documents, and to introduce evidence and expert witnesses, but the judge shut down all those efforts.”
During a September hearing, Col. Denise Lind, the 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 believed to be illegal.
Lind also rejected defense requests 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.
Stripped by the court of all possible defenses that might have justified his actions, Lakin has no chance of prevailing at trial.
Lakin had intended, through a court martial, to resolve the nationwide dispute about Obama’s eligibility to occupy the Oval Office.
Knowing he was risking imprisonment and dismissal from the service, Lakin deliberately disobeyed his superiors in order to force Obama to produce his birth certificate and documents related to his citizenship status.
His plan was frustrated when Col. Lind declared that Lakin’s orders were legitimate, without addressing the underlying eligibility issue, and ruled to limit the scope of the trial to the narrow question of whether Lakin had knowingly disobeyed orders.
“This leaves us with a client who stands accused of missing the movement of an airplane, two failures to obey orders to meet his brigade commander, failure to report to Ft. Campbell, and failure to report to his unit,” said Puckett.
“Lakin asked many people to answer his questions about his misgivings about the legitimacy of the president, even the White House. He had a question that a lot of Americans have, a question that hasn’t been answered by the legislative branch or by the judicial branch. When he received his orders he had a conscience issue, whether he’d be obeying lawful orders,” Puckett explained.
“Lakin is a doctor, not a lawyer,” said Puckett. “He thought if he were to ask that question of the military courts, after being rebuffed in all other avenues, he’d get his answer. What he has discovered is that the military justice system cannot produce the answers to those questions. He could not have known, he was given inadequate legal advice. The military justice system is set up to help commanding officers maintain good order and discipline. It can’t make victims whole, it can only punish wrongdoers. He’s very disappointed in the system.”
“We have to proceed without the documents, evidence and witnesses that have been denied to the defense. LTC Lakin is left to speak for himself and defend himself. It’s up to him whether he wants to testify in his own defense,” said Puckett.
Puckett would not reveal Lakin’s decision or any other details of his defense plans. He predicted that Lakin would end up, at worst, convicted of two violations of disobeying orders, be dismissed from the service, and spend a year in confinement.
Once guilt or innocence has been determined by his jurors, the trial will move to a presentencing hearing, when Lakin will have an unfettered opportunity to introduce mitigating evidence that might justify his disobedience in spite of Judge Lind’s limitations on the scope of the trial.
“If he were to be convicted, he would have an open microphone to talk to the panel of jurors,” said Puckett.
Puckett could not predict whether Lakin plans to deliver an impassioned speech addressing the charges and the Obama eligibility issues.
Supporters are mobilizing in Lakin’s defense. The officer has become a cause célèbre on the Internet, and rallies are planned next week in Arizona and at the court martial in Ft. Meade, Maryland.
“Every American should support Lakin,” said Arizona organizer Jeff Lichter, a retired high school physical education teacher. “Don’t we all have a simple right to ask who our president is? Is he legitimate, is he qualified? That’s all Terry is asking. He has every right to ask the question, he asked it for a long time before he went public.
“They’re not even going to allow him to put up any evidence, We feel the trial is already rigged, and they’re denying him his due process rights, He’s been denied access to records in Hawaii. He’s been told by Judge Lind that the orders he’s refusing to obey came from the Pentagon, not the commander in chief, so his question whether the commander in chief is eligible is irrelevant. It’s ridiculous. It’s all fixed.”
Lichter’s rallies will take place at the state offices of Arizona Republican senators John McCain, and Richard Kyl, and U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.
“We have 535 congressmen and none are ready to ask for an investigation of this issue? We just want these officials who have not kept their oaths to defend the constitution. They’re not doing it,” said Lichter.
“Nobody has been able to break what’s apparently a cover-up of this issue. We want people to know about this in spite of the media blackout.”