HAGERSTOWN, Md. – A discharged Marine private who slit his wrists in a suicide attempt is fighting his military conviction for deliberately injuring himself, arguing the punishment is inconsistent with the armed forces‘ efforts to battle a rise in suicides during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s not clear how often the Marines or any other service branch prosecute active duty members for trying to kill themselves. But the defense lawyer for Pvt. Lazzaric T. Caldwell says it’s wrong to punish service members with mental health problems for genuine suicide attempts. Suicide prevention has become a priority across the military as numbers climbed in the past decade with the increasing stress of combat and multiple deployments in the wars.
Caldwell, 25, of Camp Pendleton, Calif., never deployed to a war zone but was diagnosed in 2009 with post-traumatic stress disorder and a personality disorder, according to court records. In 2010, he slashed his wrists in his barracks at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan.
He pleaded guilty at a court-martial that year to “intentional self-injury without intent to avoid service,” a criminal charge that the government says helps maintain good order and discipline in the armed forces. The charge is sometimes used in self-injury cases when there isn’t enough evidence to prove malingering, military justice experts say.
Caldwell was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a bad conduct discharge.
“If you succeed in committing suicide your service is treated honorably and your family receives full benefits,” Hanzel wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “If you are unsuccessful in a genuine suicide attempt, you can receive a federal conviction and get a bad-conduct discharge and jail time, which is what happened to Pvt. Caldwell.”
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com …
- Lazzaric T. Caldwell, US Marine, fights conviction for suicide attempt (thegrio.com)
- PTSD Soldier coping with suicide attempt charged and convicted by Army (thetruthhaschanged.com)
- Lazzaric T. Caldwell, U.S. Marine, Fights Conviction For Suicide Attempt (huffingtonpost.com)
- US Marine Fights Conviction for Suicide Attempt (abcnews.go.com)
- Marine’s failed suicide attempt lands him jail sentence (rt.com)