Legal Approach To "A Few Good Men"

1707 words - 7 pages

A Few Good MenThe movie, "A Few Good Men," is a story about a pair of U.S. Marines that are charged with murder. They feel that their innocence prevails because their acts were committed as direct orders from their superiors, and these types of orders are not disobeyed. As the story unravels, there are many legal issues that we have covered in our class, BU11, The Legal Environment of Business. In this paper, I plan to go over the main legal elements which occur throughout the film.Starting off with the facts of the movie, case that is being presented is a criminal one. Two Marines, PFC. Louden Downey and Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson, are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and conduct unbecoming a Marine. The reason I mentioned this fact is because they are not only on charge for the acts which they have committed, but also their negligence as Marines, which will be shown in the final verdict. Being a criminal case, they need a defense attorney, someone who will represent them and prove beyond a reasonable doubt their innocence. Lt. J.G. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is assigned this role.One main factor that needs consideration is the fact that this trial is a military one. Most of the same rules apply, but there are some variations. For instance, the judge presiding over this case is a Colonel in the military. They are better known as JAG's, or Judge Advocate Generals. Another variation from a regular criminal trial is that the jury is composed of only military personnel. That is done so the defendants have a jury of their peers."Code Red" means nothing to any civilian that hears it, but to a Marine station in "Get-go," or Guantanamo Bay, as we know it, it is an unofficial hazing ritual that teaches new recruits how to pick up their slack. This command is usually given by a superior officer, and is carried out by fellow Marines to "remind" the unfortunate soldier his duty. This is the premise on which the defense bases their case that the acts PFC. Downey and Lance Cpl. Dawson have committed were done solely to obey a direct order. This may confuse many civilians, but soldiers do not carry the burden of command, that is to say, that the commanding officer is responsible for actions carried out by soldiers who are executing direct orders. Thus in this case, whoever gave the order for the "Code Red" is truly guilty of murder. The hard part is proving someone gave the order.Lt. Kaffee does not undergo this great ordeal on his own. He has co-council in the form of Lt. Cmdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore). Lt. Cmdr. Galloway requested to have sole representation in this case, but being that she is from internal affairs, her superiors split the role, for reasons that will soon be disclosed. Lt. Cmdr. Galloway is sure of PFC. Downey's and Lance Cpl. Dawson's innocence. However, Lt. Kaffee is not convinced, and is eager to enter in a plea bargain. That means that he will plead guilty to a lower charge in order to receive a lowered...

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