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.