Should military commanders decide whether to prosecute accused sex offenders?

March 8, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Good morning:

I believe the answer is clear and unambiguous. No, they should not decide whether someone under their command should be prosecuted for a sex offense.

First, I believe decisions to prosecute someone for a crime should be made by someone who is trained in the law and the rules of evidence. Crimes consist of elements, each of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether a particular element can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt depends on whether there is admissible evidence to prove it.

Prosecutors have the requisite legal training and experience to make those decisions. Military commanders do not have that set of skills.

Second, a decision to prosecute or not to prosecute should be made by an impartial person who is neither biased in favor of nor prejudiced against the accuser or the accused. Military commanders usually know both the accuser and the accused. They cannot forget what they know and that means irrelevant considerations will often play a role in deciding whether to prosecute.

Third, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. As I reported yesterday, there were over 1600 sexual-assault complaints pending in the military at the end of the fiscal year (September 30th) and no one seriously contends that sexual assaults are not a serious problem. The word “epidemic” most accurately describes the situation.

Fourth, just when the situation appeared to have reached its maximum high tide mark with the prosecution of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair for sexually assaulting a young female captain with whom he had a three-year affair, we found out this week that Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, the top lawyer in charge of the Army’s special-victims counsel (they prosecute sexual assault cases) has been accused of groping a military lawyer who worked for him.

Finally, the military has made no progress solving its horrific sexual-assault problem and it’s so bad now that even the Army’s chief prosecutor cannot keep his hands to himself.

Shame on Senator Claire McCaskill (D) and the 44 senators who voted with her to sustain a filibuster that defeated Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill, which would have removed military commanders from deciding whether to prosecute sex offenses.

I think the correct answer to the question that I posed in the title is a proverbial “no brainer.”

Military commanders should not have anything to do with deciding whether to prosecute people in their command for sex offenses.

What do you think?

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This is our 925th post and its time again to request donations. We work hard to keep you informed by filling in the blanks between the lines. After 30 years in the trenches, I am familiar with all of the rules and strategies prosecutors and defense counsel utilize. Experience counts and most of my predictions have been accurate.

Adjusting and fine tuning to dial in the white fear and racist corruption frequencies in the Florida courts took some doing, but I am on track now.

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Fred


Lame Senate defeats bill to eliminate military commanders from decisions to prosecute sex crimes

March 7, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Good afternoon:

Despite a well documented epidemic of sexual assaults committed against women in the military and the failure of military commanders to decide to prosecute the alleged offenders, the Senate failed yesterday to muster enough votes to overcome a filibuster against a bill that would have removed military commanders from deciding whether to prosecute an alleged offender.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D) of New York sponsored the bill, which despite bipartisan support, only mustered 55 votes. 60 votes were required to overcome the filibuster.

Senator Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky and Senator Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa supported the bill.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri led the opposition, despite several recent highly publicized cases, including the trial of Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair. He is charged with two counts of forcing a captain to give him a blow job and with threatening to kill her, if she revealed their three-year affair. He already pled guilty to having improper relationships with two other women and to committing adultery with the Captain. His trial started today at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

As of September 30th of last year, over 1600 complaints of sexual assault have not been processed.

After defeating Senator Gillibrand’s bill, the Senate voted 100-0 to advance a related bill proposed by Senator McCaskill to the floor for a vote next week. This bill would change the current procedure by referring sexual assault complaints to a civilian review board, if a military commander and a prosecutor disagree about prosecuting an alleged offender.

I do not see any compelling reason to continue to include military commanders in the decision-making process. They cannot help but be biased since they often know the accuser and the accused and they have proven that they cannot handle the responsibility.

For more information on yesterday’s shenanigans in the Senate, go here to read the New Yorr Times report.

For more information on the trial of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, go here.

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This is our 924th post and its time again to request donations. We work hard to keep you informed by filling in the blanks between the lines. After 30 years in the trenches, I am familiar with all of the rules and strategies prosecutors and defense counsel utilize. Experience counts and most of my predictions have been accurate.

Adjusting and fine tuning to dial in the white fear and racist corruption frequencies in the Florida courts took some doing, but I am on track now.

Please make a donation, if you appreciate what we do.

Fred


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