View Poll Results: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

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Thread: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

  1. #41
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    The thread is about sexual assault, not suicide.
    I know exactly what it's about. I also have a daughter in the military.

    I would think the obvious connection to the two would be .. obvious.

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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Civilians, who have never spent a day in uniform aren't. The potetial for unfair verdicts is sky high.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    I don't think the Commander or the COC should be removed from the process, nor do I think the process should be handed over entirely to civilians.

    I think that the system that exists now should be added to, not removed, and that civilians should be added in to the mix, not replace military authorities.

    The CO should remain the initial deciding authority, but I don't think (s)he should have the final word.

    As it is currently the buck stops at the CO's desk.

    That should be changed a bit.

    I believe that all the CO's decisions in relation to sexual assault charges should be reviewed by a Committee of senior officers and Department of Defense civilians. Both the CO and the Committee should be privy to all the same evidence, and both should be making their determinations to charge/prosecute or dismiss based on that evidence.

    In cases where the evidence presented clearly supports the CO's determination (either to dismiss or to prosecute) then there won't be an issue.

    In cases where the Committee sees something different than the CO does it doesn't necessarily have to be an issue either, it can simply be a matter of erring on the side of caution when the evidence doesn't support a clear-cut conclusion and letting a Court Martial make the final decision (which is the conclusion COs should be reaching now but apparently aren't).

    Now, if the CO makes an egregious error in judgement, or demonstrates a history of making small errors in judgement, then that's something that needs to be taken up by that CO's COC.

    But on the face of it I don't think we'll see that kind of situation arising all too frequently under my proposed system even if it is happening now.

    Military officers, by and large, are nothing if not masters of the art of self-career preservation.

    If they know that there is going to be a committee back-stopping their decisions in respect to sexual assault I think the overwhelming majority will err on the side of caution.

    As far as the civilians who will be involved, I think they all need to be DOD civilian employees and I'd prefer to see them all having some experience with the UCMJ. I think former JAG officers would be ideal, as would retired senior officers and NCOs.

    I agree with APDST that, by-and-large, fresh-off-the-block civilians aren't qualified to, nor do they deserve to, serve in any capacity overlooking the general day-to-day operation of our military. Likewise, we don't need professional civil rights activists getting themselves involved and turning this into a circus.

    But at the same time I think bringing in a set of fresh eyes that is more familiar with judicial matters than most COs likely are and that is independent from any kind of military COC could add value.
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  4. #44
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by HonestJoe View Post
    Juries don't know anything. It isn't their job to know anything, it's their job to assess the evidence presented alone to reach a verdict. If knowledge of military customs or traditions is relevant to a case (as it could be in a civilian case now), it would be presented in evidence, just as any other specialist knowledge would be presented, say in cases of medical negligence, computer crimes or complex fraud.

    Similarly, juries don't know the civilian legal system (nobody knows any legal system - that's why they have so many reference books). Judges inform juries of the relevant laws and legal technicalities and instruct them on the specific judgements they need to make.

    I suspect the framers left military justice to the federal government because they didn't want states able to interfere with the federal military via their courts. It was a different world and an entirely different military back then though. The same principles simply don't apply any more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackAsCoal View Post
    I know exactly what it's about. I also have a daughter in the military.

    I would think the obvious connection to the two would be .. obvious.
    Hmmm, well don't trouble yourself to fill in the gap, that would be like work.
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by soot View Post
    I don't think the Commander or the COC should be removed from the process, nor do I think the process should be handed over entirely to civilians.

    I think that the system that exists now should be added to, not removed, and that civilians should be added in to the mix, not replace military authorities.

    The CO should remain the initial deciding authority, but I don't think (s)he should have the final word.

    As it is currently the buck stops at the CO's desk.

    That should be changed a bit.

    I believe that all the CO's decisions in relation to sexual assault charges should be reviewed by a Committee of senior officers and Department of Defense civilians. Both the CO and the Committee should be privy to all the same evidence, and both should be making their determinations to charge/prosecute or dismiss based on that evidence.

    In cases where the evidence presented clearly supports the CO's determination (either to dismiss or to prosecute) then there won't be an issue.

    In cases where the Committee sees something different than the CO does it doesn't necessarily have to be an issue either, it can simply be a matter of erring on the side of caution when the evidence doesn't support a clear-cut conclusion and letting a Court Martial make the final decision (which is the conclusion COs should be reaching now but apparently aren't).

    Now, if the CO makes an egregious error in judgement, or demonstrates a history of making small errors in judgement, then that's something that needs to be taken up by that CO's COC.

    But on the face of it I don't think we'll see that kind of situation arising all too frequently under my proposed system even if it is happening now.

    Military officers, by and large, are nothing if not masters of the art of self-career preservation.

    If they know that there is going to be a committee back-stopping their decisions in respect to sexual assault I think the overwhelming majority will err on the side of caution.

    As far as the civilians who will be involved, I think they all need to be DOD civilian employees and I'd prefer to see them all having some experience with the UCMJ. I think former JAG officers would be ideal, as would retired senior officers and NCOs.

    I agree with APDST that, by-and-large, fresh-off-the-block civilians aren't qualified to, nor do they deserve to, serve in any capacity overlooking the general day-to-day operation of our military. Likewise, we don't need professional civil rights activists getting themselves involved and turning this into a circus.

    But at the same time I think bringing in a set of fresh eyes that is more familiar with judicial matters than most COs likely are and that is independent from any kind of military COC could add value.
    What do you expect to be accomplished by adding civilians to process? How do you filter out the activists? How do you prevent discrimination against the soldier being tried?
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

  7. #47
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Civilians, who have never spent a day in uniform aren't. The potetial for unfair verdicts is sky high.
    When it comes to sexual assault, I fail to see the difference of how that is determined, rather by civilian or military authority. Most importantly, start from here .. military authority/chain of command has failed to solve the problem

    "The military's sexual assault problem has reached epidemic levels. Some 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012, according to a report released this summer by the Department of Defense (DOD)—up from 19,000 in 2010. This week, the Senate will begin consideration of legislation to curb the crisis. But a battle has emerged over how to solve the problem."
    The Fight Over How to Stop Military Sexual Assault, Explained | Mother Jones

    Sexual assault is sexual assault whether in uniform or not.

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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackAsCoal View Post
    I know exactly what it's about. I also have a daughter in the military.

    I would think the obvious connection to the two would be .. obvious.
    Do you want your kid being judged by civilians who don't know jack**** about military justice judging your daughter, in a scenario where she finds herself forced to disobey an unlawful order on the battlefield? Or, do you want experienced, educated line officers making that call?
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

  9. #49
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    First, rejection of the advice is what I'm referring to.

    Second, we're talking soldier's life. Ot's very important to consider all possibilities.
    Let me try and explain this better. The goal is not more convictions, the goal is ensuring that the right outcome for each case is arrived at. That is the first thing to understand.

    When I was in the navy, I worked on electronic systems of F-18s. The vast majority of the time when a problem came up, we could solve it no problem, usually within minutes. However, a few times a year we would have something that was just a royal bitch. Intermittent gripes that only happened when the plane was in the air and we could not duplicate, and that everything we tried to do failed to solve the problem. This would happen maybe a dozen times a year. When it did we called in a civilian contractor. He was a specialist in 18 electronics, and worked with all the squadrons on base, getting called in on all the hard issues. More often than not, he had seen the gripe before and would tell us just what we needed to do. If not, he knew how others had solved similar problems. My suggested observer would be something like this guy. He would work with sexual assault cases and be an expert. He would be a resource for the command. He would know best practices, he would have lots of experience, he would be a tool to help insure the command got it right. And he would gather data on how the issue was handled, whether it was handled appropriately, what the command did wrong and things that further training at the command level was needed.

    Sexual assualt in the military is a military issue. Ultimately, each case needs to be decided by the military. That does not mean that no oversite is needed, and it does not mean that expert help is not a positive. Every one wants it a nice, clear cut, the militayr can do it, or the military needs to be removed. I think both go too far, and the military should handle it, with civilian help and oversite.
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  10. #50
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    Re: Should we remove military chain of command from military sexual assault cases?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Hmmm, well don't trouble yourself to fill in the gap, that would be like work.
    :0) You must be joking. You mean you actually couldn't make the connection between sexual assault and suicide?

    Suicide, Military Sexual Assault Survivor Stays Alive By Saving Other Veterans

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