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.

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

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That One Guy (profile) says:

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.

Richard (profile) says:

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


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.

Ninja (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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. 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.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: 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

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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