MILITARY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER (Former JAG Attorney) NEWS:
In the never ending saga of Congressional debates about a topic that, at best, they only pretend to understand - that being military court-martial trials and allegations of rape and sexual assault in the military justice system (UCMJ Article 120) - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to yet again change the military justice system to try to ensure (i.e. stong-arm) that every rape or sexual assault allegation is prosecuted (regardless of merits) and that the military accused's opportunity to raise a defense continues to be eroded - has failed. Her bill did not receive the 60 votes required to pass.
Of course, she vows to continue her quest. One story appears here:
While some argue the merits of Senator Gillibrand's bill versus the bill proposed by Senator Claire McCaskill, the point with regard to both bills is that they are two different proposed paths aimed at the same outcome - making changes to the military justice system to try to ensure:
*Every alleged military rape/sexual assault case is prosecuted
*Every military accused is hopefully convicted
*Every military accused is hopefully sentenced harshly
*Every military accused is hopefully denied clemency
*Every military accused is prevented from fully defending himself...
In the lengthy Senate debate on this issue, I wonder if anyone brought up the issue of the fairness of the system for those military members accused of rape or sexual assault, or protecting the rights of the accused and the ability to mount a defense in these cases. I haven't yet read the debate (I am intentionally avoiding it to preserve my sanity on this Friday), but I would be shocked if there was anything about those "pesky" issues like an accused military member's constitutional rights to due process and a fundamentally fair court-martial process. You can find links to the debate here:
- The accused (my child) must be guilty.
As I keep saying: It is a very sad chapter in the history of the military justice system.
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.