I’ve written before about the case of Lazzaric Caldwell, a young man who has been prosecuted in a U.S. military court for his suicide attempt. This is a striking case, considering the military’s stated concern about the high number of suicides and other mental health issues among active duty members and veterans. (A suicide attempt for a U.S. citizen who is not a member of the military is not illegal.) Lawyers for Caldwell argued his case yesterday before the military’s highest court, and I wanted to share a website that has the collected, updated coverage of his case. The audio from this week’s arguments should be added as well. You can also read the court filings.
The Defense Department argues that Caldwell slit his wrists right after he was ordered into military detention over the attempted theft of a belt from a store off his base in Japan. The judges sounded skeptical yesterday. “If suicide is indeed the worst enemy the armed forces has in 2012 … then why should we criminalize it when a guy fails?” one of the judges on the panel asked.
The Marine Corps Times this month reported that the Pentagon has ordered an internal review of the laws under which a suicide attempt is treated as a crime.