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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

FORMER NAVY JAG FACES SUSPENSION FOR GITMO RELEASE

Matthew Diaz, a former Navy Judge Advocate, is looking at a possible three year suspension from practicing law.  However, the suspension would be retroactive to 2008, allowing Diaz to apply immediately for reinstatement.  The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments on the recommended suspension (which Diaz's attorney supports) a few weeks ago. 
 
Diaz, while on duty as a Navy Judge Advocate, mailed a classified list of the names of the person being detained at Guantanamo to the Center for Constitutional Rights.  Diaz claimed he was torn between following his orders and his desire to ensure that detainees received legal representation.  Diaz apparently tried disguising the list by enclosing it in a Valentine's Day card. 
 
Diaz was court-martialed, put in the brig, and discharged from the Navy after the discovery of his actions. 
 
From a purely personal side, as a Judge Advocate myself, I find Mr. Diaz's actions reprehensible.  The detainees at GITMO, are not American citizens, and therefore do not enjoy the same rights as American citizens.  They are however treated better than some prisoners here in the US.  They are given access to attorneys, and all their religious needs are attended to.  Mr. Diaz was not being issued an illegal order and he had the moral responsibility to follow orders and do his duty to the best of his ability as a Navy Judge Advocate. 

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