Mental Health Project

New York Times Features Law School's Combat Clemency Project

A Lonely Mission to Pardon U.S. Soldiers Who Killed Civilians
Dave Phillips
New York Times
May 19, 2016

The Combat Clemency Project, part of the Law School's Mental Health Advocacy Clinic, was featured in a New York Times story, "A Lonely Mission to Pardon US Soldiers Who Killed Civilians." The seven students working on the project, run by Clinical Professor and Mental Health Advocacy Clinic Director Mark Heyman, are petitioning President Obama to grant clemency to combat veterans who were convicted of homicide while deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq.


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Mark J. Heyrman

Clint Lorance

Clint Lorance was a model soldier for ten years in the U.S. Army. Now he spends his days confined within United States Disciplinary Barracks. His promising career ended on July 2, 2012 when Clint, as a First Lieutenant and newly-appointed Platoon Leader in the U.S. Army, ordered his men to fire on three Afghan men approaching the Platoon’s patrol position.

Michael Williams

Michael Williams served in the Armed Forces for five years as a Ranger and an infantryman. During his second deployment to Iraq, Michael shot a disarmed Iraqi insurgent during a cordon and search mission. About an hour later, he authorized his squad member to shoot another suspected insurgent.

Franklin Dunn

Franklin L.C. Dunn, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, joined the Army to provide a better life for his family and to answer our nation’s call to serve.

Corey Clagett

Corey Clagett was born in South Carolina. He grew up in poverty and an unstable home. He finally found some stability when he joined the army. Unfortunately, this experience was short-lived. In 2007, Corey participated in "Operation Iron Triangle" in Samarra, Iraq. His squad took several insurgents prisoner.

Derrick Miller

One shot was all it took to turn Derrick Miller, a Maryland National Guardsman with no criminal record, into a convicted murderer in prison for life. Derrick thought he was protecting his unit from Taliban attack; the Army called it premeditated murder. That shot was fired while Derrick was on his third combat deployment.

Robert Bales

In March 2012 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales left base in the middle of the night in a manic and impaired state, intending to seek out the enemy in neighboring Taliban-controlled villages.[1] In a confused and berserk state, Robert killed sixteen civilians.

Combat Clemency Project

The Mental Health Advocacy Clinic has taken on a new project beginning in October 2015. We represent seven combat veterans who have been court martialed for homicides committed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. At the time of their offenses, many of our clients were suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or other mental health issues. On their behalf we are seeking from the Department of Justice and President Obama some form of clemency such as a sentence reduction, commutation, or a full pardon. We will also requesting the Obama Administration to investigate and remedy the lack of mental health resources and PTSD treatment programs at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth. We are conducting our work in cooperation with several experienced attorneys from the Judge Advocate General's Corps and with support from United American Patriots.

Our project members met our clients at the Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas or in the community and has submitted a clemency and/or pardon petition on behalf of each client. These petitions include psychological, neurological, and other medical evidence. We have submitted these petitions by mail to President Obama, Pardon Attorney Zauzmer, and Secretary of the Army Murphy.

Hayley Altabef, Kayla Gamin, Eamonn Hart, Kathleen Kinsella, Michael Lockman, Stephanie Spiro, and John White are each representing one of the Project's combat veterans.

Combat Clemency Project

Since October 2015 Professor Mark Heyrman and a team of law students have been representing seven combat veterans who were convicted of homicides committed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hardest Stories to Tell: What an Intense New Clinic Project is Teaching Seven Students about War, Mercy, and the Frailties of the Human Mind

Becky Beaupre Gillespie

An intense new mental health clinic project is teaching seven students about war, mercy, and the frailties of the human mind.

Driving through Fort Leavenworth last November in her rented sedan, Kathleen Kinsella, ’16, noticed two things: First, the US Army base, tucked in the northeastern corner of Kansas along the Missouri River, was gorgeous. It was a vibrant autumn tableau of burr oak, cottonwood, catalpa, and sycamore trees sharing a hilly campus with historic buildings, some dating to the nineteenth century.

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