Richard Rosen is widely known for his expertise in military law and has been a contributor to the recent edition of the Serial podcast, focusing on the Bergdahl story.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been the subject of much scrutiny and media attention since the U.S. traded five Taliban detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to secure his release after he was captured in 2009 when he left his outpost in Afghanistan. Bergdahl spent almost five years under Taliban activity before his release was secured.
The move by the U.S. drew criticism for trading known terrorists for a deserter, especially after several Army troops died searching for him in the days after his disappearance. Still, upon his return to the U.S., recommendations were made by Army lawyers at a preliminary hearing in Texas in September that he should not face jail time or punitive discharge resulting from a court-martial.
However, on Monday, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of the Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, ordered Bergdahl to face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his actions.
Richard Rosen, a Glenn D. West Endowed Professor of Law and the Director for the Center for Military Law and Policy at Texas Tech University's School of Law, is available to comment on the latest developments. Rosen is widely known for his expertise in military law and has been a contributor to the recent edition of the Serial podcast, which is focusing on the Bergdahl story.
- The Commanding General of Army Forces Command (convening authority) is not bound by the recommendation of the preliminary hearing officer.
- Bergdahl will have the opportunity to try to negotiate a pretrial agreement, agreeing to plead to a lesser-included offense or a reduced sentence.
- “Sgt. Bergdahl will be able to select the forum before whom he will be tried — a panel of officers, a panel that includes enlisted personnel, or military judge alone.”
- “Although desertion in time of war and misbehavior before the enemy are potentially capital offenses, I do not believe there has ever been any intention to refer the case as capital.”