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View Diary: Old white man decides to leave military sexual assault decisions in the hands of old white men (175 comments)

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  •  the vast majority of the time (0+ / 0-)

    like 95%, those generals already listen to the senior legal advisor, the staff judge advocate's recommendation, at least in the Army. And in my experience, the only times I've seen the opposite is when the SJA advised to not go forward, and the commnder said to go forward anyways.

    I'm sure there are reverse situations, but the reality is that the vast majority of the time, the general goes with what his top lawyer tells him.

    So, not sure this recommended change would have the effect folks seem to think it would.  

    •  Proceeding goes against Commander's record... (0+ / 0-)

      wondering how many times these "recommendations" by senior legal advisers are actually in the best interests of the one who was victimized, or in the best interests of the Commander's career...

      As a Survivor from the 1980's who has been studying this issue from all angles, the pattern is quite obvious. Perpetrators go free while victims are silenced and ousted from the military.

      "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      by RoseWeaver on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:33:54 AM PDT

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      •  in my experience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RoseWeaver

        the recommendations are on the strength of the case and the law.

        Usually the concern is making sure the CG isn't going to do anything to get into trouble, which usually is more likely to involve recommending going forward on borderline cases, not recommending not going forward.

        So the interests of the commander's career in today's environment is probably aligned with sending cases to trial.

        The 80s is not today.  I've been an attorney on both sides since the early 2000s, and it's a sea change the last 3-4 years from the 2000s even.

        The introduction of the victim advocates, the special victim prosecutors, the special victim investigators/teams at CID, the questions the generals ask now about counterintuitive victim behavior, the focus on going forward on cases even when the probable cause hearing (article 32 hearing) recommends that there isn't probable cause (which I see happening now first-hand).

        You are correct, accused are going free.  In my experience, part of that reason is because we are taking and charging cases that the civilians turn down.  Part of it is that a large percentage of our cases are drunk sex cases.  And many of our panel (jury) members are hesitant to convict accused of such offenses.

        Part of it is a law that still doesn't define what it means to be impaired by alcohol very clearly which makes it tough to make such an offense stick to panel members.

        From my pov, the problem is not on the legal side of things.  The problem is an American problem and a human problem involving stopping folks from taking advantage of victims who are incapacitated by alcohol, or in some cases fear.  I think part of that is accomplished by trials obviously, you want to put folks who commit these crimes in jail and out of the military.

        I think part of it is better education both in the military and in society.  But I just don't believe this is a military-specific problem, it's a societal problem.  I think the military, thanks to the focus, is now ahead of the civilian sector in several areas.

        I don't think the local town outside the gates has victim advocates, and I know for a fact they don't prosecute anything but slam-dunk cases, and I know they treat alleged victims like crap.

      •  Again, making stuff up (0+ / 0-)

        Military JAGs are some of the most independent folks I know.  Like qazplm the only time I have seen commanders go against the advice of their JAG was to go forward with marginal cases against the advice of counsel.  

        JAGs are under a completely different promotion system to free them from being influenced by unethical commanders.  Military Judges are even more independent and have no problem telling the CG his JAG is accepting bad plea deals.

        As a side note - I ignored the advice of my JAG one time as a commander when I choose NOT to prosecute a soldier for something said during psychiatric counseling.  See there is not doctor patient confidentially in the military but I decided that what was said could be dealt with differently.  I knew the soldier was going though a tough time - hence the treatment - and that she thought her counseling was confidential.  Had she not believed that, she would not have been able to work out one of the issues and I didnt want to punish her for seeking help.  Of course in your world I would have had no discretion in choosing to send her to trial.  Someone outside the unit would choose baed on a formula.  But what do I know, Im just an evil old white guy.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 03:34:37 PM PDT

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