Military Law Expert: Bales Sentence A “Severe Condemnation”

By Austin Jenkins

Life in prison without the possibility of parole. That’s the sentence handed down Friday for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the Washington-based soldier who gunned down 16 Afghan civilians - mostly women and children - and burned some of their bodies. It happened in March of 2012. 

Eugene Fidell teaches military justice at Yale Law School. He says the sentence is not a surprise.

Eugene Fidell: “What that tells me is that the members of that court martial have delivered a severe condemnation and concluded that this is a person who should not again be permitted to live in the free world.”

However, Fidell says the sentence is not absolutely final yet. The jury’s decision will now be reviewed by a military commander who has the power to adjust the sentence. There will also be an automatic review of the case by a military appeals court.

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