SAN DIEGO – There's no dispute retired Marine Sgt. Andrew
Tahmooressi drove with three loaded guns in his truck into Mexico where firearms are illegal.
says he got lost on a California freeway ramp that sent him across the border with no way to turn back. His attorney argues
Mexican Customs officials also violated his rights by holding him for some eight hours without notifying the U.S. Consulate
or getting a translator.
But arguing those points could mean a long time in jail for the 26-year-old
Afghanistan war veteran.
Instead, his lawyer is relying on another argument to win his freedom
in the shortest time possible: He needs to be release so he can go home to get treatment for his combat-related post-traumatic
stress, which Mexican authorities don't treat, even in their own soldiers.
The case marks
one of the first times Mexico could make a ruling on PTSD -- though the psychological wound is increasingly used in U.S. courts,
especially in arguing for reduced sentences.
But it has gotten mixed results, according to a study
by the University of California, San Francisco. U.S. appeals courts have found PTSD-based criminal defenses to be viable
when a direct connection is made by an expert between the criminal actions and PTSD, the study found.