Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Sparks observed that “there was simply no connection between [Darnall] and the box apparent to [the CID agent] at the time of the arrest except that [Darnall’s] name was printed on the outside and it was mailed to an address in the community surrounding the Marine base.” 76 . at 330-331. That coincidence, and the arranged meeting of Darnall and the package in the unit’s mailroom, did “not in any way confirm [Darnall’s] involvement to a degree significant enough to establish probable cause.” 76 . at 331. Rather, it was a “somewhat sloppy and apathetic investigation” leading to an apprehension “in clear violation of [Darnall’s] Fourth Amendment rights.” 76 . at 332.
The reversal is because of a conflict of interest between the lead military defense counsel (a Marine captain, identified as Capt KC), her husband (another Marine captain, who was assigned as a trial counsel but not otherwise involved in the case, identified as Capt CC), and the prosecutor (a Marine lieutenant colonel, who was the regional trial counsel and supervised the husband, identified as LtCol CT). The defense team included a second Marine captain (identified as Capt JS) who “the appellant requested . . as individual military counsel.” Slip op. at 3.
On August 23, a six-person panel sentenced Bales to life in prison without parole.    He was also demoted to the lowest enlisted rank, dishonorably discharged and will forfeit all pay and allowances.  A commanding general overseeing the court-martial has the option of reducing the sentence to life with the possibility of parole.  Afghan villagers and the families of Bales' victims were upset by the decision, saying he deserved death.   Bales is incarcerated in the maximum security section of United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth .