- Law Cases
30 March 2011
Major Matthew Kemkes
U.S. Army Trial Defense Service
204 Lee Avenue
Ft. Myer, VA 22211-1199
Subj: LTC Terrence Lakin Clemency Request
It has come to my attention that letters from military veterans would be helpful to Colonel Lakin in connection with a request for clemency which you are preparing on his behalf.
I am a former naval aviator with service in Vietnam. Following active duty as a regular naval officer, I served in the Naval Reserve until my retirement in 1982 with the rank of Commander USNR. I am also a retired airline captain, having retired in 2000 as a JFK-based international captain with Trans World Airlines.
I have followed Colonel Lakin’s case with great interest and concern. I have admired Colonel Lakin not only for his long and honorable service to his country, but also for the courage of his convictions which he displayed in the matter that resulted in his court martial, conviction, and imprisonment relating to the validity of orders he received from what he believed to be a defective military chain of command.
While I share Colonel Lakin’s concerns as to the underlying issue regarding the apparent constitutional ineligibility of the president and commander in chief, I feel that the more important issues relating to a request for clemency are the following:
1) LTC Lakin acted in good faith, and as he believed his duty as a U.S. military officer required of him, pursuant to his oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
2) LTC Lakin was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial by virtue of the ruling by the trial judge prohibiting him from introducing evidence at trial supporting his contention that his deployment orders lacked valid legal authority.
3) LTC Lakin was an exemplary military officer with a flawless record of professional conduct, superior performance, attention to duty, and devoted service.
Colonel Lakin’s several prior successful deployments to the war zone, and the many instances of recognition he received for his courage and his extraordinary devotion to the patients under his care, must dispel any possible notion that his actions were motivated by something other than a sincere belief in the correctness of his conclusion regarding the legal status of his deployment orders.
I strongly support and urge approval of the request for clemency being submitted by LTC Terrence Lakin.
David F. LaRocque
CDR USNR (ret)
Editor’s Note: It has been reported by the Greeley Gazette that Lt. Col. Lakin’s sentence has not yet been “approved,” even though half of it has been served.