First Sergeant, United States Army
ABOUT THE CASE
In 2009, John Hatley, a highly decorated 20-year combat veteran was convicted of 4 counts of murder for the supposed deaths of four Iraqi males. John was sentenced to life. His sentence was subsequently reduced to 40 years and then, to 25 years. John has served ten of those years the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) on Fort Leavenworth, KS. Due to the extenuating circumstances of his trial, his honorable service, and impeccable record before and since the conviction, he is seeking a commutation of sentence.
In August 2017, John became eligible for parole. Both the Military Correctional Complex at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where John is confined and the US Army Clemency and Parole Board in Arlington, Virginia determined to parole John. However, in September 2017, the Undersecretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs disapproved both recommendations largely on the premise that 10 years’ confinement, with an exemplary record as a model inmate, was not sufficient punishment given the severity of the murder convictions of local-national Iraqis in a combat zone during combat operations. Ironically, the two other individuals who were convicted of the same crimes in the same case were paroled in 2015. In 2018, the same board that had granted parole in 2017, denied it on the basis that John had not taken responsibility for his actions (i.e., he hadn’t confessed to a crime he did not commit). This was an objection they did not express in 2017. In essence, they denied his right to maintain his innocence. This action can reasonably be viewed as an attempt to please their boss, which violates their obligation to give each case a full and fair evaluation.
He is currently seeking relief in the form of disapproval of findings and sentence, pardon, or commutation of sentence through Executive Action from the President of the United States.