Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Most Everything I Know About Trying High-Profile Cases I've Learned From My Ex-Husband, John Henry Browne

by Anne Bremner,
with contributions by Bob Sims

John Henry Browne is defending accused killer Robert Bales. Bales is the Pacific Northwest-based soldier who allegedly gunned down 17 civilians in Afghanistan.

Before the world knew any of the specific details of this case or who the victims were, it knew all about the accused -- and the defenses. And it knew why.

Nature abhors a vacuum. And what a vacuum of information from the military there was. John stepped up and immediately filled it. He spoke of the four stressful deployments, post-traumatic stress disorder, a head injury, financial woes, and the personal strife Bales has experienced. Sentiment prevailed. "I am not putting the war on trial, but the war is on trial," John said. Many agreed. Suddenly, public conversation was elevated beyond this case to the prosecution of the war itself.

John Henry Browne was a hippie in the 1960s. When we were married I remember him talking fondly of those halcyon days, describing San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, a mecca for the Hippie movement. He knew every nook and cranny in that neighborhood from his travels. He brought memories of Buena Vista Park during the Summer of Love 1967 come to life when he told me his stories. (I recently found an old picture of him with hair streaming past his shoulders and a drooping hippie moustache, one I used for a birthday invitation for him once.) John walked the walk as a hippie. He protested against the Vietnam War. He never served.

Many people talk of the 1960s as a time of protest, casual sex and civil unrest, a time in which some people think very little was accomplished for bettering American society. I disagree. Positive changes did come. In time. Women's rights and civil liberties improved by leaps and bounds. We steadily climbed out of the chasm of racism. The Vietnam War was ended. And from that time of momentous social change came John Henry Browne.

He has waited all his life for this case. He is made for this case. He will put the war on trial and he will win. It's ironic that decades after his period of discontent in the 60s, and on the eve of his expected retirement, John is handling the most important case of his career -- and one of the most important in this country's history.

Rules in dealing with the media in such a highly publicized case? Be brief and be quiet. Deliver a message that resonates. Tell the truth. Humanize your client. Use your case as a platform for public conversations about the greater good. Be accessible. Be relentless. Never, never, never ever quit.

I have learned all of this -- and more -- from my ex-husband John Henry Browne.

And that's why I know he will win.


Thomas Pluck said...

I hope the prosecution brings up 3 random soldiers with PTSD who didn't kill children and burn their corpses.

rob said...

Sorry, I don't think he will win. I am sick of this war also, but there is no excuse for what this man did. If he is not punished for it, we are no better than what we are over there fighting for. this man did have other issues, he cheated on his wife, he is accused of beating his girlfriend up, he drinks, and all the other issues you named. He should have sought help, not killed and burned innocent children.

Anonymous said...

The winning is in putting the war on trial. And from counsel's perspective, saving a life.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are wrong. This man needs to stand trial in Afghanistan, not here.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully justice will prevail and the war will end. The war is wrong. And putting someone to death under these circumstances isn't right either.

Anonymous said...

I think he may win. Many people have tremendous sympathy for our service men and women, and I think people will be even more sympathetic to someone that has been deployed multiple times. According to one report, we have over 50k service people that have been deployed at least 4 times. This is unheard of with our military. If they don't have PTSD after the first deployment, then chances are they will after the second. Then, let's add in the brain injury and other injuries this guy sustained. We also need to discuss this guy's home base and the scandals that have been taking place there. There is a problem with the culture on that base plus the medical director of the base has overturned something like 40 percent of PTSD cases. The base also turned away Nat'l Guard troops seeking treatment for PTSD, I am sure due to the costs of treatment. Didn't the Medical Director recently resign?
Plus... Let's talk about the rioting and violence over the burning of the Koran that took places before this incident. There were reports of Afghans suddenly turning on our people and attacking them whereas before they worked as interpreters, police or workers on the base. Those incidents had to have an effect on our people in Afghanistan.
Plus... There is little forensic evidence since the dead were buried quickly. There were reports from the Afghans that there was more than 1 killer.
Yeah, he will probably win.

Fat Loss 4 Idiots said...

Many agreed. Suddenly, public conversation was elevated beyond this case to the prosecution of the war itself.

Anonymous said...

Lets bring Home all the US forces...and Money and Food. If the rag heads want to kill each other, lets ship over the TNT and stick matches....

Sandy said...

War kills people - innocents and not-so... putting the war on trial is a great idea and I hope Brown wins the case. But it is a hard battle to convince the money-grubbers that war doesn't pay in profits - bit time. That is another battle for another day.

Christian Louboutin said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm glad you wrote this article as the liberal media sensationalized the incident & demonized the soldier, leaving a void of objectivity & information about the case.
I'm also glad this soldier has competent legal representation.
This country's "leader" & military leaders have sent the soldiers on repeated deployments that have totally stressed the soldiers out, beyond human limits. I believe this incident, & a few others that have come to light recently, as well as others which will never see the light, are a result of this repeated stress. Not only should the US not be in Afghanistan, but the soldiers shouldn't be subjected to repeated deployments as they are & have been.
Good luck to this young soldier, & to your ex-husband in representing him. I hope the soldier is found not guilty, in spite of the military seeking a scapegoat & the liberal media seeking to lynch him. jmho