Today, Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus Chairman Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) and caucus member Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17) greeted First Sergeant John Hatley as he was released from Leavenworth Prison on parole after spending 11 years in confinement for a wrongful conviction.
The caucus members released the following statements:
“The faith of First Sergeant John Hatley makes him a tireless, unshakeable American patriot who was abandoned by his country and sentenced to life in prison without a single shred of physical evidence. After working to help get him released, it was an honor to be at Leavenworth prison to greet him as he was released on parole after he spent 11 years wrongly incarcerated.”
“I first had the privilege of meeting John, a fellow native Texan, last year when, as Chairman of the Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus, I traveled to Leavenworth prison with our Caucus to meet soldiers who experienced injustices at the hands of the military justice system. Even then, he carried himself as a leader with remarkable humility and optimism for a man whose life had been wrongfully destroyed by the very country he was serving.”
“First Sergeant Hatley’s conviction is a prime example of why we need to reform the military justice system and it is one of the reasons why we are currently working to reform the Uniform Code of Military Justice through our Caucus.”
“Nothing can replace over a decade he lost as a free man, but he deserves to enjoy every moment of his new liberty. Our prayers are with him and his family as they amazingly face the future without bitterness.”
-Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
“First Sergeant John Hatley is a Texas native who served almost 20 years in the Army. And as we would expect from a Texan who devoted his life to serving his nation, his military service is characterized by an exemplary record of honor, sacrifice, and valor.”
“Despite his distinguished record of service, Sergeant Hatley was convicted of killing detainees solely on testimony with no physical or forensic evidence, no identified victims, or reports of missing persons being presented at trial. To put it succinctly, our military leadership under the previous administration failed Sergeant Hatley.”
“But today marks a day of new beginnings and I am relieved to know that Sergeant Hatley will now be with his family. After years of work, I am proud and grateful for the work of my colleagues on the Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus to make this day a reality. Though Sergeant Hatley has been released, we will continue to seek a full pardon so that this injustice against him will be permanently removed from his record.”
“It is also not fair that our men and women who volunteer to serve and protect this nation do not have the same rights and protections as civilians. We will continue to work on behalf of mistreated soldiers like Sergeant Hatley and others who should be held to the same standard as every other American.”
-Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17)
"After 11 years of unjust confinement I am happy to welcome First Sergeant John E. Hatley back to society. I had the honor of getting to know John after I was sentenced to Leavenworth prison. John was always a symbol strength and encouragement. He helped men who were recently confined develop the tools to cope with the stress of confinement, reconnect with their loved ones, and understand the dynamics of their life transition. John unknowingly helped countless people by simply being himself. Welcome home John and thank you for your service."
-Derrick Miller, Executive Director, Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus
View photos from the release today, here.