Army Sergeant Accused of Beating Detainees with Baseball Bat Avoids Prison

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An Army cook was cleared of aggravated assaults but convicted of a lesser charge. He was sentenced to receive a Letter of Reprimand, no jail time, and will remain in the Army. The court of record for this case was the U.S. Army's 1st Judicial Circuit at Fort Lee, VA. The court case number is U.S. v. SFC Timothy Drake, 13 August 2007.

I'd take him back with me now.

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Sergeant First Class Timothy Drake, a highly decorated combat veteran, was cleared of all aggravated assault charges at a court martial at Fort Lee, VA on August 14, 2007. The Army accused Drake of beating Iraqi detainees with a baseball bat at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Mercury in 2003. FOB Mercury was outside of Fallujah, Iraq, a volatile city famous for two major battles of the current Iraq war. The court of record for this case was the U.S. Army's 1st Judicial Circuit at Fort Lee, VA. The court case number is U.S. v. SFC Timothy Drake, 13 August 2007.

The Army claimed that Drake fractured an Iraqi detainee's skull with a baseball bat, severely beat another detainee with a bat, kicked a detainee, encouraged a subordinate to beat a detainee with a bat, make false official statements to Army Investigators, and attempted to cover up the alleged crimes.

Drake plead not guilty to the charges. After a two day court martial, the jury convicted Drake of a misdemeanor level assault and of making a false statement. He was cleared of the remaining charges. The jury sentenced Drake to be reprimanded and no prison time. Drake will continue to serve in the Army at his current rank. A reprimand is a written censure and is the lightest sentence allowed at a court martial.

SFC Drake's defense team was led by civilian court martial lawyer, Michael Waddington, of Evans, GA.

According to Waddington, Drake was satisfied with the verdict and sentence. "Considering the fact that he was facing over 20 years and he was charged with fracturing somebody's skull with a ball bat. ... He was happy with the result," Waddington told the Associated Press. "As a criminal defense attorney, it is extremely rewarding to walk out of the courtroom with your client a free man following a felony court martial" Waddington explained.

Drake's defense received strong support from several of the Army's top enlisted soldiers, who testified on behalf of Drake's performance and soldierly qualities, including Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Capel, the 82nd Airborne Division's top enlisted soldier, who testified that Drake was an "outstanding non-commissioned officer."

"He was a role model. He was a motivator," said Capel, who served with Drake in Afghanistan. "I'd take him back with me now."

Drake, who turns 41 on August 17, will celebrate his birthday as a free man by moving his daughter into the college dormitory in preparation for her freshman year.

Michael Waddington is a court martial defense lawyer defending military personnel worldwide. He is a partner in the law firm Gonzalez & Waddington, LLC. He has defended numerous high profile military cases arising from the War on Terror and has been reported on and quoted by hundreds of major media sources worldwide.

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