Government Takes First Step to
Dismissal of Charges Against LtCol Chessani
Press release from the Thomas More Law Center | July 9, 2008
Read the story by Nat Helms at the
July 9, 2008
ANN ARBOR, MI – In Iraq, LtCol Jeffrey
Chessani, one of America’s most effective combat commanders, led the
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines — one of the Marine Corps’ most decorated
units. After devoting over 20 years of his life to the Corps, and
three tours of duty in Iraq, he was criminally charged by government
prosecutors for the combat action taken by four of his Marines who
engaged insurgents in a fierce house-to-house, room-by-room battle,
after being ambushed in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.
On June 17, 2008 Military Judge, Col
Steven Folsom, USMC, dismissed all charges against LtCol Chessani, on
the grounds of unlawful command influence.
Attempting to revive their failed prosecution, Government prosecutors
yesterday took the required second step in their appeal of the Judge’s
ruling by filing the authenticated record of trial with the Navy and
Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA). The government now
must file their appellate brief within twenty days — no later than
July 29, 2008.
LtCol Chessani is represented by the
Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in
Ann Arbor, Michigan. Once the government’s brief is filed, the Law
Center has twenty days to respond.
The Law Center intends to request oral argument in front of the
NMCCA’s three-judge panel which consists of Navy and Marine officers.
The panel holds its hearings in Washington, DC. The NMCCA can take
anywhere from 2 to 6 months to render an opinion after oral arguments
The losing party has the right to request
an appeal to the next level, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
(CAAF), which is composed entirely of civilian judges.
Moreover, if the government losses all of
its appeals, it still has the option of re-filing the charges against
“This is certainly a David versus Goliath battle, ” said Richard
Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, “but we will
fight this unjust prosecution as long as it takes.”
LtCol Chessani has been under
investigation and prosecution since March 2006 involving the November
19, 2005 battle of Haditha.
The Thomas More Law Center fights in the
courts to preserve America’s Christian heritage and moral values. It
defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored
family values, and the sanctity of human life through litigation,
education, and related activities. It does not charge for its
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Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at