Texas Tech University

In Bergdahl case, the rare charge of misbehavior

The Tribune

March 27, 2015

The Tribune - In the military's case against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the charge of desertion, with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years, is the lesser count and the easier one to prove, legal experts say.

Walter B. Huffman, a former Army major general and commander of the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, said he believed the military was prepared to take the case to trial, including prosecuting the misbehavior charge. But the defense team could still secure a plea deal.

"There are a lot of different ways defense counsel can pose this to the government in a way that will perhaps make the government think, 'We can get our pound flesh this way, and avoid a lot of expense,' " said Huffman, a professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law.

"On the other hand," Huffman said, "the reason the military is preferring charges is to deter this kind of behavior by soldiers, to make the point of saying, 'We will not tolerate this, and if you do something like this, we will consider it a very serious violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.' "

Read the legal assessment here