This week’s Marine Corps Times includes an article about the Cox Commission.  William H. McMichael, Law panel to review private sex in military, Marine Corps Times, July 20, 2009, at 10.  The article indicates that Judge Cox “said the commission hopes to have its recommendations out by the end of September.”

Judge Cox is quoted as saying that the commission is “very interested” in decriminalizing “private sexual conduct.”  The article indicates that Judge Cox emphasized that doing so is a separate question from whether to retain Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

25 Responses to “Another Cox Commission preview”

  1. John O'Connor says:

    Can you have mission creep when not assigned a mission?

  2. Interloper says:

    Some (tho not me) would say creepy mission.

  3. dreadnaught says:

    Heresy! Oral sex engaged in by consenting adults is the single greatest menace to the effectiveness of the military forces of the United States, nay, the existence of America itself.

    In an after-action report, it was discovered that RCT-1 was halted for over 36 hours south of Al Kut because a single act of cunnilingus. Similarly two ships of an ESG, an LPD and an LSD, were rendered combat ineffective by fellatio.

    The Cox Commission must be stopped.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to get rah rah, but one of the things that drew me into the service was the romantic idea that the military holds its members to a higher moral standard than society at-large. I thought it was terrific that this specialized society still prosecutes people for cheating on their spouses. You cynics blather on about not shedding rights when we put on the uniform, and I guess this should include the right to sleep with one of my sisters (or both of them at the same time), but I kind of like the moral strictures infused into the Code that would never survive rational basis review on the outside. Of course we’re all citizen-soldiers, but the more we come to resemble American society, the further removed we are from any “specialized” status, and any honor or respect that comes with it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There are no signs in the desert which say, “Don’t eat the rocks.”

    We’ve prohibited sodomy/adultery not because we hold ourselves to a higher moral standard, but because of the particular vulnerabilities of our “specialized society” and the potential these acts — even between consenting, opposite-sex adults — have to threaten good and discipline.

    If you don’t believe it, you probably have never worked legal assistance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have worked in legal assistance and as often as not it was the non-military spouse who was doing the cheating. I’ve seen legally separated service members, who were no longer with their spouse, living apart, who got GOMORs for having sex with someone else, even though the spouse knew and cared not one whit.

    Sleeping with a fellow Soldiers wife? Bad idea and perhaps should continue to be punished. Cheating on your spouse or having sex while separated with a random civilian, not going to affect the unit one bit. So, easy fix is to get rid of service discrediting in adultery, and make the focus on actual prejudice to good order and discipline. Stop giving career-threatening GOMORs indiscriminately to every person who has sex outside of marriage regardless of unit impact.

    Stop making it a throw-on charge to every single charge or rape. Stop caring if a loving couple want to engage in something more than lights-off intercourse. Such changes will not affect the military one bit.

    As for the person who compares adultery to incest, I’d say get some perspective.

  7. Anonymous says:

    MSNBC.com (July 14, 2009)

    A Pentagon-commissioned report urges the Defense Department to ban smoking in the military, even by combat troops in battle zones. [But they’ll be free to sodomize each other and cheat on their spouses?]

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr Cox, please decriminalize drug offenses, too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Rum, Buggery, and the Lash — But the Smoking Lamp is Out!

  10. dreadnaught says:

    Anons – There was no mention of adultery. This is only a discussion of sodomy. Even if Art 125 was omitted, there would still be a charge for adultery, Art 134. Let us please keep the discussion on point.

  11. John O'Connor says:

    Well, the post indicates the “Cox Commission’s” interest in decriminalizing “private sexual conduct.” That seems to go beyond sodomy and seemingly would include adultery. Granted, I don’t subscribe to the Marine Corps Times, so I can’t state whether the article provides more detail.

    One might rightly wonder whether the “Cox Commission” has any special expertise that makes them more authoritative than any group of seven or eight randomly selected military officers on what is essentially a policy (not legal) question of what ought to be criminalized.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I thought that consensual sodomy was already not really prosecuted unless it involved an inappropriate relationship (superior-subordinate)?

    We should get out of the private-consensual sex game completely.

  13. Bridget says:

    Oh, scandal,sailors engaging in oral sex and even with their wives-if they are lucky. I believe two Cox Commissions have made this recommendation, but with no implication that the services should not prosecute behavior that is PGOD. 125 on it s face would still prosecute oral sex with one’s wife in the privacy of the marital bedroom, but for Marcum.

    The new 120 addresses almost every form of sexual misconduct and if you insist, sodomy can be moved to a 134 offense with the element of PGOD attached as adultery should be amended. I don’t think the Cox Commission has proposed the legalization of events that are PGOD. However, I will take under submission the idea that the Commission leading us to the downfall of Western Civilization.

    As for the qualification of the Commission members and recorders, I thought they were a pretty weighty group of scholars, including Judge Cox. There is a legal basis for the recommendations on private non-PGOD sexual acts, that is Lawrence and how it will be applied in a military environment.

    I note that Anon 1137 may be the only one on the board worth dating, “Rum, Buggery and the Lash but the Smoking Lamp is out”, now that is a man who knows how to have a good time.

  14. Phil Cave says:

    Winston Churchill is dead – may he rest in peace. So I don’t know that he’s available Bridget.

  15. John O'Connor says:

    Bridget, I guess my point is that being “a pretty weighty group of scholars” doesn’t strike me as all that important a qualification for the essentially non-legal policy question of what should and should not be criminalized by statute.

    I note that I’m not beating the drum one way or the other on what sort of conduct ought to be criminalized, just questioning whether addressing these sorts of pure policy questions is mission creep on a self-issued mission.

  16. Bridget says:

    I didn’t think Churchill made the smoking lamp comment. Although he would have been interesting for an evening.

    J’OC I am not convinced that the discussion is pure policy. I have long wondered if the “military factor” in Marcum wasn’t the court adding an element to the offense. To a greater or lesser extent, even the “procedural” dicussion by the Commission are policy discussions about the appropriateness of military process.

  17. GreenOnions says:

    Cue joke about the Rear Detachment.

    Though I wonder how often non-forcible 125 offenses actually get processed (either via NJP or CM). I’ve seen maybe a handful of such complaints but never a commander that’s gung-ho to go forward on them…

  18. dreadnaught says:

    GO – It may be a worse affront to the rule of law when there is a law that continues to stay on the books that commanders are unwilling to enforce. It would seem that if Cong. took the time to draft a criminal statute CAs should take the time to enforce it. If not, let us just remove the law from the books.

    You are probably quite correct that very few nonforcible sodomy cases are being taken to a CM. But it is not always good pin one’s hopes on prosecutorial discretion.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think most of these offenses are legamorons, which are kept on the books only to punish the most extreme cases or as LIOs to aggravated sexual offenses. We don’t actually expect people to follow these laws, we just expect them not to get caught violating it. Kind of like the speed limit.

  20. Public Safety says:

    First, the gov’t shouldn’t be involved in consensual sodomy because of privacy issues. And they shouldn’t be kept on the books just to be a lessor included of real crimes–either it was consensual or it wasn’t. These laws shouldn’t be used for those gray areas in between.

    Second, speed limits are real laws that serve an important public safety function. I strongly urge the poster above to obey the speed limit even when no one is watching.

  21. Phil Cave says:

    Bridget, true he didn’t make the smoking lamp comment, but the rest is attributable to him. There’s no way such an inveterate cigar smoker would ever put out the smoking lamp.

  22. Bridget says:

    Phil, rum, sodomy, lash, cigar, speeding sports car, its a military crime spree.

  23. Anonymous says:

    No, Bridget, just a pack of CAAFloggers gearing up for the weekend.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Floggers or loggers?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, it muust be the meme of the lash.