Pemberton will not face court-martial in the US

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of murdering Filipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude, will no longer undergo court-martial proceedings, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson said Wednesday, September 16.

Pemberton will not be tried a second time since he already served the court-imposed penalty for his actions prior to his pardon, Major Melanie Salinas of the US Marine Corps’ Communication Directorate told online news service BenarNews.

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, clad in a gray shirt and black pants, was released from his detention cell in Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday, September 13, and was subsequently deported back to the U.S. | Photo courtesy of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration

“Consistent with the due process traditions shared by the United States and the Philippines and the running of the Statute of Limitations, the Marine Corps will not try Lance Cpl. Pemberton a second time for the same crime. He will be processed for administrative discharge,” she said in an email to BenarNews.

Salinas added that Pemberton was currently on full duty with the Marine Corps, “but is administratively out-processing from the Marine Corps.”

In response, Malacañang said the decision is now in the hands of the U.S. government.

“That’s a decision of the U.S. government although I take note that they have said he will be processed for administrative discharge, meaning he will be fired as a Marine,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque on Monday, September 14 said Pemberton will continue to face court-martial proceedings in the U.S. as promised by U.S. authorities.

“There was a promise made by American authorities along with a representative from the Marine corps,” he said in Filipino.

“They promised that even if Pemberton is released and the process in the Philippines ended, he will still face court-martial proceedings where it will be determined if additional punishment will be imposed and if he is still qualified to remain in service,” he added.
Pemberton was convicted of homicide on December 1, 2015 for the murder of Laude. He was sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment.

He was released from the detention after being granted an absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte, who said that it was unfair to keep Pemberton detained.

Before Duterte’s pardon, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court ordered his release, saying that the convicted American serviceman has completed the minimum of his sentence after serving a total of 2,142 days or over five years and eight months in prison as well as accumulating a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than four years.

The pardon voided the issue of whether or not Pemberton is entitled to GCTA.

Pemberton was deported from the Philippines on Sunday, September 13 on board an American military aircraft bound for the U.S., at exactly 9:14 a.m.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

4 Comments
  1. This Marine was sleeping with this transgender drunk out of his mind, and the transgender did not tell him that he was in fact a male. I had to stop a similar incident from occuring during my time in the Philippines. If you want to dress like a woman and go try and sleep with straight men without their knowledge, you should probably tell them before you get yourself beat into a coma, or even worse, re read the article. He didn’t mean to kill him.

  2. 76-79 My ship visited and while transgenders were not so prevalent in PI, in Singapore they were paraded each evening on Boogie St. No matter how much a woman looked like a man, any sober military man with christian discernment could easily tell the difference. The large hands/feet, Adam’s apple, and voice were dead giveaways. Even Godie Locks wasn’t fooled and questioned the wolf.

  3. This whole thing was a travesty of justice. Pemberton received special treatment right from the get-go. My heart breaks for the Laude family and for the Filipino people who continue to endure the legacy of colonialism and American imperialism.

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