Courage to Resist. November 18, 2008 update

Daniel Sandate, a mentally ill US soldier, was deported from Canada and sentenced to 8 months in the stockade at the end of a brief court-martial at Ft. Carson, Colorado on Monday, November 17. His civilian lawyer, James Branum, describes this case below and asks that you consider making a donation to his legal defense.

"Trading uniforms – Two Fort Carson desertion trials shed light on the route from post to prison" by J. Adrian Stanley, Colorado Springs Independent. November 20, 2008

By James Branum, attorney for Daniel Sandate. November 14, 2008

I wanted to let everyone know about a case I am working on. The client will be pleading guilty to the charge of Desertion on Monday, November 17th at 1 p.m. at Ft. Carson, Colorado. I (along with an excellent attorney with the JAG’s trial defense services and local Colorado attorney Bill Durland) will be arguing to the court that Daniel Sandate should receive a lesser sentence due to his extreme mental health issues.

Daniel has asked me to share his story with the public. A longer version of this will be published at a later point, but this limited account is what Daniel has asked me to share at this time.

The case of Daniel Sandate

Daniel grew up with a horrific home life that is indescribable in nature, so understandably he grew up experiening severe trauma and mental health issues. His adolensence and young adulthood were brutal but he hoped that joining the Army would give him a sense of purpose and a reason to live.

Sandate was a good soldier. He performed reasonably well in training and did ok in the Army until he deployed in Iraq. Like many soldiers, he was forced to see and participate in things that no human should ever have to go through. He came home from Iraq shook to the core and with a strong case of PTSD.

Daniel tried to get help from the Army but he was blown off, time and time again. His situation was quickly spiraling in a negative direction (he was very suicidal at this point, which was scary because he had tried to kill himself before even joining the Army), so when he met new friend online who lived in Canada, he thought it would be nice to take a break from the Army and hang out up there for awhile. He always wanted to come back at some point, but just needed a break and some time to recover his sanity.

However, while in Canada, Daniel was threatened severely by his old unit (he was even told by an NCO that he could be executed for going AWOL) so he ended up staying in Canada for several years.

While in Canada, he became very isolated and saw few people other than his girlfriend. When they broke up, things got really bad and he tried to kill himself. He was stopped (the police came after his downstairs neighbors reported blood dripping from their ceiling) and at frst hospitalized and then later incarcerated. He was later released from jail but due to his suicidality he reported back to the police and told them he wanted to be deported to the US.

The Canadian authorities did take Daniel back into custody but wouldn’t release him due to their concerns over his safety, so Daniel called the US embassy and asked for their assistance. Daniel was then deported to the US, where he was immediately taken into custody and transported to Colorado. He has been sitting in the county jail in Colorado Springs ever since, and has been n suicide watch pretty much the whole time.

Daniel is an intelligent, articulate man, but he is deeply troubled. Unfortunately the Army and the CJC (the county jail) have refused to give him the mental health care that he needs, so his mental health situation has declined.

How you can help Daniel

For Daniel’s defense, I am raising funds to cover my expenses and those of Bill Durland’s (who has been invaluable to me as local counsel). At this point, we are short about $1000 of what is needed.

You can donate directly on my website ( or if you need the tax deduction you can send donations by check to the

Oklahoma Center for Conscience
504 NE 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104.