Search This Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: More About Systemic Unfairness In Alleged Sexual Assault Cases at American Colleges

Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

In past blog posts, I have addressed how American colleges are now struggling with issues similar to those plaguing the military when it comes to alleged rape or sexual assault cases (UCMJ Article 120 in the military justice system).  The push by ill-informed and misguided lawmakers and advocacy groups to rig the system, eviscerate the rights of the accused, and attempt to ensure predetermined outcomes of guilt.  Here is one such post:

Although the political pressure and public misunderstanding of these issues is substantial, all is not lost - at least for college cases.  Here is an LA Times article about a California Court ruling against the University of California, finding that the college did not have sufficient evidence to support sexual assault charges against one of the their male students:

The Court ordered the University to drop its findings - and all sanctions - against the student.  The Court determined the University failed to hold a fair hearing by limiting what questions by the accused would be asked of the complainant, the accused was denied the opportunity to confront the complaint officer, and the accused was denied access to witness statements or even his own statement.  Moreover, when the accused student appealed the University's finding against him, the sanctions that had been imposed on him were increased!  While I'm sure Senators Gillibrand and McCaskill, Representative Speier, and others in Congress would have stood up and applauded this kangaroo court, an actual court of law struck down what occurred here.  Interestingly, the article states:

"The case is being watched nationally, as concern has grown that the intensified crackdown on campus sexual assault over the last few years has skewed too far against those accused, violating their due process rights.  Last fall, 28 Harvard Law School faculty members published an opinion article condemning their campus procedures on sexual assault cases as lacking 'the most basic elements of fairness and due process' and 'overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.'"

Do all the knee jerk, politically motivated changes to the military justice system come to mind here???

Here also is that Boston Globe article describing how 28 members of the Harvard Law School faculty issued a statement condemning the new sexual harassment prevention policies at Harvard University:

Among the concerns raised by the Law School faculty included:

- Limitations on the accused's right to discovery, to confront his accuser, and to present a defense;

- Lack of systemic impartiality; and,

- Lack of adequate defense representation.

Do all the knee jerk, politically motivated changes to the military justice system come to mind here???

What is happening right now in our colleges and the military are training sessions in which the actual law regarding alcohol, sex, and consent are being misstated, where the systems of discipline and justice are being altered and skewed heavily in favor of denying an accused any real opportunity to defend himself, and the public narrative about these issues, like the systems themselves, is so unbalanced and inaccurate that unfair and unconstitutional actions are being met with applause!

At least some still fight the good fight - for the good of the respective systems and for the good of those accused of rape or sexual assault.  Our military defense law practice has been involved in this fight for years.  

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:

We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

No comments: