Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years today. The Government asked for 60. The maximum was 90. He will be eligible for parole after 1/3. He gets credit for the time already served. He also will get another 112 days of credit for the harsh conditions he endured during in the early days of his confinement.

In all, he received 1,294 days of credit, and will be eligible for parole in 8 /12 years.[More...]

Manning was convicted of 20 criminal charges last month, including six violations of the Espionage Act. But Lind also acquitted him of the far more serious charge of aiding the enemy, which could have sent Manning to prison for life.

...His defense team asked that he be sentenced to no more than 25 years so that he could attend college some day.

His underlying offense conduct:

In all, he copied and disseminated more than 700,000 war logs, terror detainee assessments and State Department cables from a forward operating base in Iraq.

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    All things considered... (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 12:40:45 PM EST
    ...I think he's looking at less real time now than he probably imagined he would have. I know I am surprised.

    Me too... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 12:49:57 PM EST
    it's still a god damn perversion of justice, but he can still have a life under the best case parole scenario...if the torture hasn't broken him irrevocably.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Zorba on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:08:51 PM EST
    Only four months "off" the sentence for the "harsh conditions"? How about voiding the entire sentence because of that extreme mistreatment? Not that they would ever have done that. I'm actually surprised that the judge even acknowledged, in some small way, what he endured. I wish him well, and hope that he can get some semblance of a decent life back after he is finally released.

    That's actually fairly typical (none / 0) (#14)
    by Payaso on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:47:13 PM EST
    How about voiding the entire sentence because of that extreme mistreatment?

    Most of the treatment that Manning has endured is fairly typical for maximum security confinement.  Prison is no picnic under the best of circumstances.

    Supermax is even worse.


    Maximum security prisons (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:26:46 PM EST
    are awful places, but in decades of representing people convicted of crimes, a decent number of whom have been in maximum security, I can honestly say I've never had a client report conditions similar to those endured by Manning pretrial.  So frankly, Payaso, I don't know what basis you have for saying those conditions are "fairly typical" of maximum security.

    To your knowledge, (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by NYShooter on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:38:15 AM EST
    has there been a nonpartisan, reputable review of Manning's pretrial treatment? And, if so, has it been made public?

    Quite frankly, after reading some of the accounts of Manning's ordeal I just couldn't believe it. I don't mean "couldn't believe it," cognitively, but, "couldn't believe it" because it was so far beyond the pale, so far beyond anything required for security purposes, and so far into the realm of sadistic aberration that it took on "A Clockworld Orange" aura for me.

    I'd be interested to hear what sort of pretzel-twisting logic was used (other than the patented and demented, "for his own safety," lie) that could justify such inhumane treatment.


    We really (none / 0) (#43)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:51:25 PM EST
    are gruesome and vengeful and heartless as a society, aren't we?

    Certainly over here the media (none / 0) (#12)
    by gbrbsb on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:46:15 PM EST
    made constant reference to the hundred or so years possible sentence so it must be rather a let down for them. It makes me wonder if what Manning did was as serious as the establishment claimed or just a lot of huffing and puffing at having been found out.

    Ditto (none / 0) (#20)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:43:28 AM EST
    They are saying out in 8.5 years with time served etc. Amazing to say, but it "sounds" like a fair sentence all things considered.

    While it's farcical (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by fiver on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 12:50:51 PM EST
    that those who tortured, kidnapped, pillaged and murdered hundreds of thousands of Arabs won't see a day in jail, I'm still very relieved. He'll most likely be a free man in his 30s, which is far better than many of us had thought would happen.

    I have a comprehensive rundown (5.00 / 9) (#4)
    by bmaz on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 01:24:26 PM EST
    ...of Manning's sentence, appeal and parole/early release framework here. In a nutshell, it is a surprising sentence, and with the extensive flexibility ofr parole and release under the UCMJ, he is in way better shape than many thought possible.

    bmaz, what does this mean? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Teresa on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:25:20 PM EST
    There is no interplay between parole and good time credit as good time credit affects the adjusted maximum release date, and parole consideration is annual after a specified time frame as explained above. If a prisoner is not paroled, s/he may be released earlier than initially expected as a result of good time credit.

    Does he get an early release on any "good time credit" whether or not a parole board gives him parole? That's what it sounds like to me, and I hope that's right because I don't trust a military parole board to be too kind toward him. He still needs parole to get the 8+ years, even with the good credit time, though?

    I hate to celebrate anyone getting locked up 8+ (more) years, but that's sure better than what I believed would happen based upon media reports. I'm glad for that. I never expected to read the military has opportunities for parole the fed prisons no longer have. The federal prison system needs to go back to that.


    No... (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by bmaz on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:41:35 PM EST
    Good time credit, by my understanding, does not effect parole, supervised release etc. It is simply credit off the base sentence; but he will be much more likely to be gone before that really helps him....even if, as you fear, he is not granted parole at the first or second opportunity.

    The caveat is, as I hope I explained (probably better in my first Manning sentencing post) I have a little, but not that much, experience in military courts (all Air Force). My opinion that the UCMJ system is, overall, surprisingly fair and protective of rights is mine; however, overall on the substantive descriptions, I had help from very senior level counsel in the military system with much of both of my posts. I checked everything, but I had a lot of help.


    Every (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by lentinel on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:06:59 PM EST
    single news outlet - in one way or another - is touting this as some sort of victory for Manning - like he'll be out in ONLY 8 and a half more years.

    What a herd.

    Isn't there any rag out there that considers what 8 + years in one of those freaky ratholes is like - and that he will spend all of his youth there...

    And how undeserved this punishment is.

    while - as many are commenting - the torturers, sadists and those who gave them orders or license to do what they did - they are free with no threat of legal consequences.

    This is not one my country's finest hours.

    People are hoping that Obama will commute his sentence to time served. I hope so too, but given Obama's insanely feverish crusade against Snowden, I just don't see it happening.

    This is not going to happen, but (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by Zorba on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:13:02 PM EST
    I would really, really like to see the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee grant this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Bradley Manning. And, while they're at it, shared with Edward Snowden. Not that either of them would be able to travel to Norway to receive it.

    That is not "herd" mentality (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by bmaz on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:45:41 PM EST
    It is the truth. Just because you and/or I disagree with a sentence foes not make it untrue that it is a relative victory under the circumstances compared to what easily could have been.

    He might be (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:16:29 PM EST
    I think it is possible.  He seems to be a model prisoner.  He has to be a good prisoner or I don't think his judge would have sentenced as she did.

    Manning has many individuals interested in his early release.  And so far they have served him and advised him well.


    The chances of Obama commuting (4.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:40:00 PM EST
    Manning's sentence are quite possibly less than zero.  I can almost hear them gnashing their teeth over the possibility that Manning could get out in less than 10 years, so I fully expect that when and if he comes up for parole, there will be a government lawyer or seven arguing for denial.

    And the media's calling this a victory for Manning must be really frosting their cupcakes.  They don't want him to have a victory - how could they possibly want that based on how they treated him before they were made to stop?

    I mean, how offensive is it, really, that the government thinks the way it treated Manning is only worth 112 days?  They probably consider having to knock 112 days off his sentence as an excellent trade-off for being able to treat him the way they did for as long as they did.

    And people still wonder why we are hated.  

    So, there's no way in hell Obama's going to look upon Manning with compassion.  Just no way.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:45:24 PM EST
    or maybe it's just lip service (or a nicer way - standard boilerplate language):

    The White House said Wednesday that it would consider a clemency petition for Bradley Manning "like any other application" after the Army private was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking a cache of documents to WikiLeaks.

    "There's a process for pardon applications or clemency applications, I believe they're called," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "And I'm not going to get ahead of that process. If there is an application that's filed by Mr. Manning or his attorneys, that application will be considered in that process like any other application."

    Manning's attorney said shortly after his sentencing that he would ask the White House for a pardon. He added that even if the president did not do so, Obama should commute Manning's sentence to time already served.

    Imo, (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:44:18 AM EST
    pure boiler plate.

    Something you could buy in a stationary store.


    Bradley Manning gets (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:14:25 PM EST
    112 days credit for the "harsh conditions he endured during the early stages of confinement."  Yes, harsh conditions. The military judge, Col. Denise Lind ruled that Manning was subjected to illegal pretrial punishment during nine months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, VA (Manning was in the Army at the time). Col. Lind found that the conditions of his pretrial confinement "became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests."  

    Woke up, it was a Chelsea Manning (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:02:56 PM EST
    Joni Mitchell (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:31:49 PM EST
    You're showing your age, Peter. ;-)

    Happy to say I saw Joni Mitchell (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:42:17 PM EST
    sing and play her early songs at the Second Fret, a coffee house in Philadelphia, in September (I think it was) 1967, before she was a national sensation.

    Lucky you! (none / 0) (#36)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:53:32 PM EST

    Another little factoid about the song (none / 0) (#49)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:31:30 PM EST
    is that Bill and Hillary say that they named their daughter after it, being particularly fond of Judy Collins' rather well-known version.

    In Concert, London, England (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Nemi on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:18:35 PM EST
    Thank you! (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:50:01 PM EST
    Love Joni Mitchell. And Judy Collins. And Joan Baez. And Buffy Sainte-Marie. And, of course, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Woody and Arlo Guthrie, and, and, and....... The soundtrack of my earlier years. :-)

    I had the opportunity (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:55:06 PM EST
    to meet Joni Mitchell, introduce myself, shake her hand, and thank her for all of her music, this past Sunday. One of the best days I've had in a long long time.

    Wow! (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:23:16 PM EST
    You tooks the words (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:33:43 PM EST
    right out of my mouth ;-)

    That looks like a wonderful place,with or (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:08:58 PM EST
    without Joni. I love the BC coast.

    Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Nemi on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:56:12 PM EST
    I found the page when looking for reviews of the Leonard Cohen biography 'I'm your man'. While shortlived it appears their relationship was interesting, with him in the role as her muse and being asked things like "How do you like living with Beethoven?" He didn't. :-)

    There's also this excerpt from the review, apropos the above:

    They each wrote a (very different) song called Winter Lady - Joni's appears to have been written first - and Joni wrote two love songs referencing Leonard's song Suzanne: Wizard of Is, with an almost-identical melody and near-quoted lines ("You think that you may love him," she wrote of the man who speaks "in riddles") and Chelsea Morning, set in a room with candles, incense and oranges, where the sun pours in "like butterscotch" instead of honey.

    This is terrific, Nemi! (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:36:03 PM EST
    Thanks for the link. Absolutely fascinating. A complex and talented man. And how many men in this world could say that they dated both Brigitte Bardot and Joni Mitchell? (However brief his relationship, or date, or whatever was with Bardot.)

    i got that book for Christmas and haven't (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:04:51 PM EST
    gotten to it yet. Now I am inspired...moving it to the nightstand.

    The PBS American Masters episode about Joni (none / 0) (#50)
    by DFLer on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:19:08 PM EST
    called Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind is fantastic. I see its available on netflix.

    Glad to see that PBS (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:40:26 PM EST
    includes Canadians as "American" Masters!

    ha! (none / 0) (#53)
    by DFLer on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 05:28:54 PM EST
    Of course, she lived in the US and CA most of her performing life.

    In "the US and CA"? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Peter G on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 07:07:37 PM EST
    The United States and Central America?  Or do you mean to say that California is not really in the USA?

    Any idea (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:50:44 PM EST
    what institution Manning will be sent to, Peter?

    Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:33:42 PM EST
    As for any serious military offense prosecuted in the US. Almost certainly.

    Conditions at Leavenworth (none / 0) (#13)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:20:15 PM EST
    The AP has an article detailing life at the prison.

    Some Interesting Comments (none / 0) (#17)
    by RickyJim on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:58:35 PM EST
    were given by Fred Kaplan of Slate and Floyd Abrams on this podcast.  Abrams pointed out a big difference between Manning and Daniel Ellsberg is that Ellsberg was much more responsible in what he leaked.  Kaplan said Manning was pretty cavalier in releasing 700,000 pages of stuff whose nature he possessed only a vague notion.  It is true also that we don't know what was in a classified document which apparently the judge saw.  It outlined the harm that releasing the material caused.

    Then Ellsberg should agree with you (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:02:00 PM EST
    FURTHER cementing... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:03:15 PM EST
    ...I meant to say.

    right.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by fiver on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:51:54 PM EST
    because we all haven't heard this garbage 1,000 times before...how "interesting".

    Manning shark jumping moment? (none / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:11:13 AM EST
    Manning wants Fort Leavenworth to provide him with hormone therapy to help change him to a woman and to change his name to Chelsea.

    I have no idea if this is on the list of provided health care in prisons, but don't see it as currently helping his cause.

    NBC reports that the Army (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:59:10 AM EST
    will not provide hormone therapy. Manning said she expects to remain in the male prison at Leavenworth.

    We've known for a while that she thought (at least at certain times) that she was female, but I think this is the first confirmation that her thinking hadn't changed.

    She said that correspondence to the prison should be addressed to "Bradley Manning." That seems to suggest that she can't legally change her name in prison, but maybe the lawyers here will know more.

    It will be interesting to see when the media and others begin to call her Chelsea and use the female pronoun.


    I would think (none / 0) (#27)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:08:30 PM EST
    Bradley will be referred to as Chelsea after an official name change. He will become she after hormone therapy.

    When the court document reads United States v Chelsea Manning, that's when the media will change course. Until that official name change takes place, he'll remain Bradley.

    According to your link, he'll remain a he while in prison. Whether he can pursue a legal name change I don't know. Chelsea or Bradley, he'll remain a male as long as he's at Leavenworth.


    It's more complicated than that (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Peter G on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:32:00 PM EST
    Manning will be treated as male at Leavenworth.  Manning will be referred to as "Bradley" by prison authorities because that's the name Manning will have been admitted under.  But gender identity can be fairly described as internal.  There is no reason to say that Manning "remains a male" as a matter of fact. Anatomically or biologically, presumably, but not otherwise.  Insofar as "male" and "female" are social categories, someone who identifies as female, and asks to be so regarded, can and should be referred to with a female pronoun as a simple matter of personal respect and courtesy.  And anyone who wants to change the name by which s/he is to be known is free to do so without any "official name change," so long as the purpose and effect of that change are not fraudulent or otherwise designed to harm others. If I prefer to be known and addressed by my middle name, or by a stage name or the like, its only courteous for others to honor that preference.

    The media doesn't always do that (none / 0) (#28)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:33:44 PM EST
    Especially in feature stories, writers often use the name and pronoun that a person prefers. Similarly, they often use "stage names" for performers, even though the names may differ from legal names. This is true even for drag performers who maintain a separate identity as male.

    In the LGBT community, most people believe someone is the gender they say they are, whether or not they have had hormone treatment or surgery. In her statement, Manning said she is a female. People who believe differently are generally attacked as homophobic.

    I agree with you that prison authorities will view Manning as a man, and I'm pretty sure that court documents don't change, even if Manning changed her name legally.

    I don't want to assume what you're saying, but biological sex is determined in large part by DNA. Changes in hormones and surgery don't make someone male or female. Many cancer survivors, including me, have had our hormones manipulated in hopes of preventing a recurrence. But hormones and surgery can help people look the way they want to look.

    I have my own opinions, but on this blog, I'm just stating what I think to be true about the media and transgendered people.


    Didn't know that (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Nemi on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:18:26 PM EST
    Manning joined the army in the hope - as a transgender - to "get rid of it"! From SuzieTampa's link. That's just heartbreaking and I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for a young person to realize, that you're in the wrong body. How do you deal with that?

    But good on him, that he's come to terms with this and let's hope he'll get the help he needs. Surprisingly from what I sense in various media and comment sections rather than making fun of his change there seems to be a huge understanding and acceptance. We've come a long way ... after all.

    Also from the link:

    "The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act."

    In the U.S. prison system, transgender prisoners who have not had genital surgery are generally assigned to live with their birth-sex peers, but the military policy is unclear.

    On whether Manning will seek sexual reassignment surgery, Coombs said "I haven't really discussed that aspect with her. Really, it's more about getting the hormone therapy, so at this point I don't know the answer to that."


    Coombs said he doesn't fear for Manning's safety in prison, and that Manning will not ask to live in a female prison. "Everyone that's in a military prison is a first-time offender. These are soldiers who have done something wrong, have gone to prison and are really just trying to do their time and then get out."

    And of course (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Nemi on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:30:02 PM EST
    I should have referred to Manning as she. It will take some getting used to for most of us I guess, but kudos to you SuzieTampa for getting it right from the start.

    Yeah, I have to admit I went from (none / 0) (#39)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:50:57 PM EST
    'good for him' on the lighter than expected sentence, to "oh, come ON" in about 2 seconds.