The Good News On The Manning Verdict? He Could Be Eligible For Parole In A Little Over Eight Years

from the using-the-term-"good-news"-very-loosely dept

Now that we know how long Manning has been sentenced to serve, the question turns to when he'll be released. Worst case scenario is 32 years, with credit for three years of time served. It's obvious he won't serve the entire sentence, but what's the earliest possible date Manning could be paroled?

There will be a lot of analysis covering this over the next few days, but it will be hard to find anything more incisive and informationive than this post by bmaz at emptywheel. His best case scenario is 8.3 years, but figures Manning will more likely serve 10 years unless the espionage counts get knocked out on appeal.

The whole post is thorough and well worth reading. The key takeaway is that Manning's status as a military prisoner means at least one thing will actually work out in his favor.

So, what about Bradley Manning’s potential release date? This is where there is a HUGE difference in the UCMJ process from civilian process. As many know, the United States government has abolished “parole” for federal prison sentences. Instead, and this is now common in many states too, federal prisoners must serve at least 85% of their imposed sentence, and only then are eligible for supervised release for the remaining time. Under the UCMJ, however, there is still an active and healthy parole system that is far more flexible and favorable to a defendant, especially one like Bradley Manning, who is sentenced to a long term.
So, there's that bit of a bright side. There are a near-literal ton of considerations that factor into bmaz's calculation and if you have any interest at all in the inner workings of the military prison system or enjoy watching someone who really knows their stuff think out loud, go and read this piece. If he's correct, Manning may end up with some life left to live and his defensive team's pleas aimed at preventing the whistleblower from having to exchange his youth for his "crimes" won't have been completely in vain. Bmaz sums it up this way:
In light of the fact Judge Lind has imposed a term of 35 years, Mr. Manning, considering the time he has already served, could potentially be eligible for release in as little as 9 years from now. As painful as it is to admit, this sentence, and Bradley Manning’s prospects could have very easily looked far worse.
Going in, there was no way Manning would walk away unscathed, even if a great many of us believe his only "crime" was causing headaches for the powers that be. And it must be noted (and never forgotten) that the wrongdoers Manning exposed aren't serving any time at all.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:41am

    Ah, but that little fly in the ointment...

    As much as I hate to say it, given how he's been treated so far, the idea that the powers that be would let their 'lesson to other whistleblowers' get off so 'lightly' seems rather unlikely, even if normally it would be possible. So as bad as it is to consider, I'm betting they will do everything they can to make sure he serves the full 35 years.

     

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      Richard (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:54am

      Re: Ah, but that little fly in the ointment...

      In 8 years time either:

      the folly of his vindictive treatment will have been recognised and he will already have been released as a hero

      OR

      They will have "got away with it" and in any case different people will be in power so the pressure to keep him locked up will not be there.

      The current political situation cannot last that long.

       

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      Haudenosaun, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 6:03am

      Re: Ah, but that little fly in the ointment...

      Ah, but a lot of things could change within those 35 years.

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:16am

    I don't consider that good news, Manning should be pardoned.

     

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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 3:43am

    Good news? This guy's life is ruined forever. He's going to have a dishonorable discharge on record, which is just one step shy of having one's name on a sex offender registry.

    I agree with Zakida: A military record restoration and a full pardon will be the only good news Bradley can get.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:13am

    And it must be noted (and never forgotten) that the wrongdoers Manning exposed aren't serving any time at all.

    That's actually the one biggest defeat. And disturbing evidence that the justice system is not in one bit just or fair. Unless you either have a position that holds power or knows someone that can pull the strings for you.

    This verdict has simply killed any trust in the judicial system a lot of people had.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:27am

    Parole is nice and all, but there's still the issue of how he's going to support himself once he's eventually freed. Having been branded a traitor, made a public spectacle of, and receiving a dishonorable discharge on top of that, I'd be surprised if he could hold any job at all.

     

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      Richard (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:39am

      Re:

      He has "name recognition". That counts for a lot - and since it is not entirely negative in his case I'm sure that some civil liberties organisation will see him as an attractive employee.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:42am

        Re: Re:

        Well he may have "name recognition" but he announced his intention to begin hormone therapy and live out the rest of his life as Chelsea Manning. Which may dilute his brand a bit. As far as being an "attractive employee" I've seen the pics of him in the blonde wig and lipstick. Attractive is not the word I'd use. Freakish or hideous is more accurate.

         

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          Gwiz (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well he may have "name recognition" but he announced his intention to begin hormone therapy and live out the rest of his life as Chelsea Manning. Which may dilute his brand a bit.

          Maybe not so much.

          Chaz (aka Chasity) Bono still has plenty of name recognition. Probably even more so than before the gender change.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 8:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Bono has inherited celebrity and is a member of the entertainment community. The entertainment folks seem to take care of their own. Chelsea however is a member of the Internet freedom community and we have all seen how pitiful that community is in terms of taking care of its fallen. Manning will be lucky to get any sort of job beyond being a receptionist at the EFF front desk. Maybe Masnick will step up and hire her.

             

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      Having been branded a traitor


      In some circles. He won't get a job with them (and why would he want to work for them?). There are a lot of people who consider his actions patriotic, though, and they may be more inclined to hire him than they otherwise would have been.

       

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      art guerrilla (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      he can stay at my house -or probably at any of many billions across the planet- for as long as he likes...
      no charge...
      well, he would have to take out the trash and do the dishes every once in a while...
      HE has more trust and goodwill from me than ALL the politicians in the world put together...

      the people know who the real patriots are, and they aren't in washingtoon...

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 8:46pm

        Re: Re:

        once thing is for sure, he will have a lot of time to think about it..

        and plenty to do while he/she is in a Male prision.

        As for people 'housing' him or employing him when he gets out, that's just not going to work.. sex change or not, he is NOT going to be the same person when he gets out of prison.

        And he's not that much of a person now.

        It's like saying 'sure I would let mike Tyson stay at my place when he gets out of prison, with me and my children and wife !!

        Name recognition goes both ways, it does not mean everyone likes you. Some who clearly cant be trusted will never be trusted.

        But he has many options for appeals, and reduction in sentenes, except for any appeals for the charges he pled guilty on, when have a 20 fixed sentince, so it will be more difficult to have them reduced.

        He also has an automatic military review, or his sentence that can be reduced or kept the same but not increased.

        After that he has the normal civil court appeal system all the way to the supreme court.
        None of that is any assurance there he will try them or that they will lead to any real reduction in time or parole.

        Don't worry, in a couple days/weeks people will have forgotten all about him.

        I have no problems with his confused sexuality but I do not think this timing is all that good with that. Considering where he is going to be living for some time.

        So the best he can hope for is that he enjoyed his life up to this point, because from now on it wont be all roses and sequins and high heals.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:32am

    the real 'criminals' in this case were those that were committing the atrocities that Manning exposed and the military/government for doing absolutely nothing about it! the one person that tried to do something, to bring attention from the world on to a particular disgraceful action, is paying the price. he is being treated no differently to other whistleblowers. the very people that Obama encouraged to come forward when they found something going on that shouldn't be are the ones that are being punished. it seems to me that the statement was put out purposefully so that once the bad bits were exposed, things could be done to make it harder to expose them in the future, not to stamp out those bad bits. doesn't give any credence to the word of the head guy being worth much, does it.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:36am

    Ten years from now

    No one is going to give a crap. Sad but true.

     

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    Shon Gale, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:48am

    They gave him the parole addition because they know he will eventually overturn the conviction in a real appeal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:43am

    You mean "she" not "he".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Look on the bright side

    Think about all the valuable things Mannings leaks told us !

    War is bad, in war people on both sides and even innocent people get killed !

    Bad people will do bad things to other people, EVEN IN WAR.

    Some diplomats don't like other diplomats, and will even call them names !!

    If you are in a war zone you might get killed, by either side, even if you are not fighting in the war.

    You also learn it's easy to be judge when you are not there and not being shot at every day.

    You also learn that people in the military will not always follow the law or rules, this includes Manning himself.

    Do you think they are going to overturn any conviction on a charge he plead guilty too ?

    So Manning did us a great service, he spent his life and waisted it to inform us that war is bad, and bad people will do bad things, and that people get killed if they are spending their time in a war zone !

    At Manning will be able to serve his time thinking about all the good lessons he showed the world !!!

    I have nothing against Manning at all, but he did give up an great deal to reveal basically nothing that everyone did not already know. A high price to pay to achieve so little.

    Oh as well, If you hope for a presidential pardon, don't spend all your time attacking the Government, it might influence their willingness to cut you a break.

     

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    horse with no name, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 6:47am

    he she it

    Gotta love it when you guys are all idolizing someone who isn't even entirely sure which side of the street they are on.

    I am not surprised he is confused with the morals of military secrets, he's confused with much simpler things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Under the UCMJ, however, there is still an active and healthy parole system

    I believe that only applies during the term of his miltitary service (6 years). After his military service time runs out he will receive his dishonorable discharge and be transferred to a civilian federal prison. At that point the no parole kicks in.
    I think he has 4.7 years in? If so then unless he receives a UCMJ parole in the next 1.3 years he'll do the whole term.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Or did she

    Or did he (soon to be Chelsea Manning???) do this so the government would pay for his sex change?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/08/22/bradley-chelsea-manning-wikileaks.html

    O r could this be the start of a new mental defence?

     

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    Wally (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 8:17am

    TRW Inc.

    Christopher John Boyce served 5 years on parole that expired in 2008.

    This is after he gave Nike ICBM guidance computer chips that TRW. Inc had designed in the mid-1970's.

     

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