A Movie About a Miscarriage of Justice That Was Anything But Unjust
Slovik’s confession added: “I stayed there in my fox hole till it was quiet and I was able to move. I then walked into town. Not seeing any of our troops, so I stayed over night at a French hospital. The next morning I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After being with them six weeks I was turned over to American M.P. They turned me loose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I’d run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I’LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE. —Signed Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik A.S.N. 36896415“. Slovik thought that confession would get him sent to jail. As a former jailbird, jail did not scare him.
Sure, desertion could be punished with death, but nobody had been executed for that offense. Slovik’s commander read his note, and told him to destroy it and avoid arrest. He declined. A higher ranking officer told Slovik that if he tore up the confession and returned to his unit, no further action would be taken. He refused. Slovik was then instructed to write another note on the back of his confession, stating that he understood the legal ramifications of deliberately incriminating himself, and that his note could be used against him in a court-martial. He did, and was taken into custody. A JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer offered to drop all charges if Slovik returned to his unit. He even offered a transfer to another infantry regiment, where no one knew what he had done, so he could start over with a clean slate. Slovik declined.