Writing Lessons from an Unpunished Murder

In my study of Army Captain Phillip Esposito’s murder and the subsequent acquittal of Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez, the government’s only suspect in the slaying, I’ve heard it frequently argued that the court-martial panel that sat in judgement of Martinez did not properly understand its instructions, and thus acquitted Martinez in error.

Without hearing directly from the panel members who voted to acquit Martinez, it is difficult to confirm these claims. To date, none of members who voted “not guilty” have come forward to explain their reasoning. As difficult as it may seem for them, I hope that they will soon come forward and explain their votes.

But in the meantime, if it’s possible that some members of the Martinez panel misconstrued the instructions they received from the court, I see two questions:

  1. Were the court’s instructions to the panel unclear, even if the instruction otherwise met the requirements of the law; and
  2. If the court’s instructions were unclear, how may we improve upon them to prevent future errors in justice?

In a May 28th talk before the Atlanta Objectivist Society, I’ll discuss my findings.

I invite those interested in the Martinez case, and any writer who seeks to improve the clarity of their writing, to hear my argument.

Here’s the flyer for the talk: