published Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Marine faces return to brig in Iraq war crime case

SAN DIEGO — A defense lawyer says a Camp Pendleton Marine is heading back to the brig after a military high court reinstated his Iraq murder conviction.

Defense lawyer Babu Kaza said Tuesday the Marine Corps told his team that Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins would be returning to jail to serve out the remaining five years of his sentence after the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces overturned a ruling by a lower court that threw out his conviction last spring.

Hutchins was released eight months ago after the lower court ruled his 2007 trial was unfair because his lead defense lawyer quit shortly before it began.

The higher court has ruled that the error was not grave enough to overturn his conviction. It denied an appeal by Kaza to reconsider its ruling.

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